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Halflings and Blackflame and Glaurants

by Andrew Theisen

Here's some stuff I've been working on lately, involving the Nightmare Dimension. Let me know what you all think.

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2000 BC: A series of great elemental upheavals split several large land masses from the main continent. The Taymora civilisation is destroyed. Meditor elves are left on the newly made islands in the Sea of Dread. (PC3)

1750 BC: A series of great volcanic eruptions and earthquakes split several large land masses away from what is now the Five Shires and Atruaghin clans area; aboriginal (Neathar-descended) peoples called the Makai and lizard men called Malpheggi are stranded on the new islands. (HW)

1720 BC: Land masses split further, forming the Ierendi islands south of the Five Shires. (GAZ4, PC3)

Dimensional instabilities erupt between Normal and Nightmare space in the region now known as the Five Shires. The only immediate effect is the appearance in certain isolated caverns of a substance from the Nightmare Dimensional Plane of Fire.

On the southern continent of Davania, certain artifacts of Lhomarrian origin register the dimensional instabilities. Constructed to keep a watch for any resurgence of the Carnifex Tyranny (locked behind dimensional barriers millennia previous), the artifacts have since come into the possession of the halflings living along the borders of the Aryptian Desert. Halfling elders begin to study the artifacts more closely, in an attempt to understand the reasons behind their activation.

1700 BC: Elves find an artifact of Blackmoor in the Broken Lands and trigger a cataclysm which buries the Great Horde of Loark. Loark dies, the remains of the Horde break apart. Elves are driven out of Glantri by local cataclysms. (GAZ13)

Dimensional instabilities cause a group of Nightmare creatures (now known to halflings as Glaurants) to be shunted into Normal space in the subterranean caverns beneath the Five Shires. Most of the creatures are driven insane by their transit, and go on a mindless rampage.

1695 BC: Those Glaurants that were not driven insane by their shift into Normal space have built themselves a subterranean city. They begin to explore the new world around them.

1693 BC: A group of Glaurants return from an expedition to the surface world. Finding a world of blinding light and uncomfortable warmth, the Glaurants opt to remain hidden underground in their new domain.

1650 BC: The subterranean Glaurant civilisation has reached its apex. Several cities have been constructed in caverns beneath the Known World, and the Glaurants alternately war and trade with other subterranean races.

1500 BC: The Glaurant civilisation is in a steep decline. Insanity runs rampant amongst the Nightmare creatures, and the theocracy is but a shadow of its former self.

1494 BC: A terrible plague strikes Chitlacan, killing almost two thirds of its population. Atruatzin, himself a survivor of the disease, is driven from Chitlacan by his rivals, who are secretly supported by the Immortal Atzanteotl. Atruatzin and his loyal followers retire to the mountain fortress of Quauhnahuac. (HWR1)

Entering the caverns beneath Quauhnahuac, Atruatzin leads his people on a mass migration that will eventually take them all the way through the interior of Mystara to the surface world.

1470 BC: Atruatzin and his followers encounter the outposts of the Glaurant civilisation, and are savagely attacked by the degenerate race of Nightmare creatures. They are forced to flee the area, and follow the caverns further north, towards the area now known as the Broken Lands.

1468 BC: Atruatzin and his followers find a resting-place, where they build a temple to the old Immortals. They name it Mictlan, after the legendary land of the dead. (HWR1)

1420 BC: Underground elven wanderers stumble upon Mictlan, and overthrow the humans. Those elves who have been seduced by Atzanteotl declare that the temple is sacred to him, and he has given them victory over their enemies and a place to call home. These elves become the Schattenalfen. Most of the elves are uneasy about this alien Immortal, but they are weary, and so they settle and build the city of Aengmor. Atruatzin escapes alone. (HWR1)

1400 BC: The Varellyan civilisation has expanded inland to the beginning of the Adakkian Sound, by the Brasol Range. Contact is made with the halflings living there. Halfling lands are appropriated by King Prial to build a great port city in his honour at this location. The is the beginning of a 100 year long feud which will result in the halfling migration to Brun. (Geoff)

1374 BC: King Prial II, eager to continue his father's tradition of excessiveness, plans the construction of a grand series of temples and paved roads around the port city of Priallus. This would take away even more halfling land. Local halfling clan leaders lodge protests with the local governor, but to no avail. (Geoff)

1326 BC: King Naxith decides to rid his nation of the "halfling problem" once and for all. For the past twenty years the conflict has intensified to the extent of open war throughout western Varellya. Several army divisions are called in to "restore order". (Geoff)

1300 BC: The Halflings, though excellent fighters, are woefully outnumbered by the enemies. They are forced to flee en masse by a great fleet of sailing ships to the north (modified HW). By this time the Oceanians are being threatened by the Night Dragons. (Geoff)

Almost three quarters of the halfling race in Davania choose to emigrate from the region in order to survive the Varellyan incursions. Having finally deciphered the workings of the Lhomarrian artifacts, the halfling elders decide to lead their people towards the strange dimensional instabilities detected centuries ago. They lead their people on a generally northward path, towards the region now known as the Five Shires.

The coming of halflings to Faerdinel and the building of Faerdinel Keep. Hin contact the Gentle Folk (failing elven race). (GAZ8)

Those halflings that remain behind in Davania adopt a nomadic existence in and around the Aryptian Desert, where they continue to battle the remnants of the Carnifex Tyranny (such as the Sis'thik) that dwell in that region.

1290 BC: Atzanteotl surrounds Aengmor with lava, slaying many underground elves. The survivors flee into the deepest tunnels and recesses below the Broken Lands. (GAZ13)

1104 BC: Underground elves discover the Refuge of Stone and take the name shadow elves unto themselves. Building work begins on the City of the Stars. Myfallar the Old is chosen as temporary king. (GAZ13)

1040 BC: Tarasfir is enthroned as the first King of the Shadow Elves selected by the shamans of Rafiel. (GAZ13)

1000 BC: Gentle Folk disappear. Orcs invade the land and enslave the hin. The realm of Othrong is founded. To the east, gnoll tribes invade Traldar territory and a great war begins (perhaps displacing the orcs who came to the halfling lands). (GAZ8)

976 BC: First contact between Shadow Elves and the Glaurants; Shadow Elf explorers encounter a group of the degenerate Glaurants in the caverns to the southeast of the City of Stars. Both groups are horrified at the sight of one another, and conflict ensues. Casualties are high, and prompt King Tarasfir to declare the southeastern tunnels off limits. Shadow Elves begin construction of fortifications in the region.

746 BC: Hin discover Blackflame deep under the mountains; Orcstrife continues. (GAZ8)

Digging in caverns beneath the Black Spires, halflings break into caverns formerly occupied by the Glaurant civilisation, now abandoned. A halfling woman, Eiira Casplardaun, discovers Blackflame burning along the shores of a subterranean lake. She is astonished to discover that she is able to touch it without harming herself.

738 BC: A halfling expedition to seek out more Blackflame in the caverns beneath the Shires encounters a group of Glaurants. They are driven off by the creatures, and give them their name (after the gulping language used by the Nightmare monsters).

The Deep Glaurants

Deep Glaurants are a race of creatures that are native to the Nightmare Dimension. There, they have a hideously evil civilisation. They are ruled by a powerful theocracy, and live in large stone cities. They utilise the Nightmarish equivalent of iron weapons and tools. They have a heavily stratified and orderly society, and practice dark rites to Entropic Immortals. Their lawful ways are considered an abomination by the more "normal" chaotic races, such as the Diaboli.

On Mystara, the Glaurants have become a degenerate version of their Nightmarish glory. Their theocracy has degenerated into a primitive form of shamanism, and they have fallen back to stone age technologies. Since their bodies have never undergone the proper dimensional shift to adjust them to Normal space, they still operate on Nightmarish levels- they see in darkness as if it were light, they prefer cold to warmth, etc. Additionally, insanity is a common trait among their race. They are largely chaotic and unorganised, but have been known to form into powerful raiding bands.


When the Old Ones created the great Dimensional Barrier, one unforeseen side-effect was the skewing of the normal dimensions of the planes of the cosmos. This skewing resulted in the so-called "Nightmare Dimension"- essentially an alternate universe that runs parallel to the Normal universe known to humans of Mystara. Additionally, the dimensional skewing caused a perceptual shift from the Normal universe, such that Nightmare creatures see and experience things in a way almost completely opposite from Normals- they see in darkness like Normals do in light; they crave cold as normals do warmth, etc. Chaos is the standard way of operating, and Law is perceived as evil. Occasionally Nightmare and Normal creatures are able to perceive one another- such as through the phenomenon of dreaming- and both are horrified at what they see.

Those few sages who know of the Nightmare Dimension tend to ignore that the dimensional skewing affected all the Inner Planes of existence, and not simply the Prime. One reason for this is that when objects from the Nightmare Dimension are dimensionally shifted into Normal space, their nature is transformed to be compatible with their new environment- Nightmare creatures would see and feel in a manner similar to Normals, and elements from the Nightmare Dimension would seem take on the appearance of their Normal space equivalents. Only in a few isolated instances, where Nightmare creatures are not properly dimensionally shifted before entering Normal space, can such phenomena be seen in their natural forms. Such is the case of Blackflame.

Blackflame is the Nightmare Dimensional equivalent of Normal fire. It originates on the Nightmare Dimensional Plane of Fire, and is occasionally found in isolated locations beneath the region of Mystara known as the Five Shires. Dimensional instabilities in the area allow Blackflame to exist in its natural state, rather than appearing simply as Normal fire (as it would if properly dimensionally shifted). The properties of Blackflame are essentially opposite those of Normal fire- it is cold, it burns items considered non-flammable by Normals, it gives off darkness rather than light. The planet of Terro, the primary world of the Nightmare Dimension, is in orbit around a giant ball of Blackflame- its equivalent of the Mystaran sun. Blackflame fulfils many of the same needs that Normal fire does for Normals. As a result, encounters between Blackflame desiring Glaurants and halflings can be very savage indeed.

Halfling Denial

The phenomenon known as "Denial" among halflings living in the Shires region allows them to cause magical effects to go awry, or to cease functioning, on occasion. It is commonly believed that this ability derives solely from the connection between the halflings and the land that they have so diligently fought and tended for, and is thus a function of willpower.

In actuality, the story is only partially correct. It is a function of the dimensional instabilities in the Five Shires region wrought by the cataclysms of millennia past. The weakening of the barriers between Normal and Nightmare space cause the difficulties in the operations of Normal and Nightmare magicks in the area (similar to the way Nightmare creatures, such as Diaboli, are unaffected by Normal magic). In some strange way, however (perhaps due to their inherent defences against magic), halflings are able to consciously focus these instabilities to work for them, to "deny" magic use in their immediate vicinity.