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The Factions & Foes of Returned Blackmoor

by Brian Rubinfeld from Threshold Magazine issue 26

I figure it's as good a time as any to return to my mad little creation. A mixture of things made this happen. The initial idea felt a bit sparse in a number of details, so I wanted to flesh a few things out, especially within the Organizations theme. More directly game related, players were interested in tweaked versions of the Rakasta tribes from some notes, plus requests for Lupins as well. And, true to the theme of the article, discussions of factions and groups for players to explore a little more. For starters, the rebellion felt a bit sparse in details. And as "The Egg Be Dammed" implied, they're certainly not entirely organized or cooperative amongst each other. Likewise, there's certainly more than just the Capital City and some points of light in a wasteland. Despite damage from events leading to the Great Rain, as well as a civil war, there are still many active settlements and cities. Nonetheless, Returned Blackmoor is very much a post-apocalyptic society. Despite evading the worst of the Great Rain, they were ravaged by radical climate shifts, social discord and the collapse of the old order; much like the rest of Mystara so long ago. Just as Heard and Beach did with the Savage Coast, I will try to do here and beyond. Also, I realize this quickly expanded far beyond just one article. I wanted to add more, what can I say?

Also, a note on timelines: The new Blackmoor timeline has a massive gap in between 3000 BC/The Great Rain of Fire and 967 AC. This is due to time travel into a near-modern Mystara. Save for exceptions, these years are otherwise blank. Also, for ease of use in Mystara, this uses the AC (First Crowned Emperor) calendar over the UC (Blackmoor/Thonia Republic) Calendar, even though the latter would be used in-game. To account for the latter, the calendar is heavily skewed due to time travel. The Great Rain of Fire would have been 2030 UC, with the current year being 6030 UC, effectively. However, due to a skewed sense of time, Blackmoor would likely deem the current year 2063 UC until corrected.

With all of that out of the way, the information here should be supplementary to Issue 20's introduction to Returned Blackmoor. And with that, please enjoy a closer look into history and the people behind the organizations, societies, tribes and others throughout Returned Blackmoor.

A Return to Blackmoor

"Mad, they're all mad here! Horrible devices and worse politics. How does such an alien place operate? The order here is illogical too! Let me out, the knights will have nothing to do with this wicked place!" - Siegfried Von Stroheim, captured Heldannic Knight, yelling at a jail warden.

Returned Blackmoor is very much akin to its earlier predecessor. And by all means, much is still the same. However, gone is a classical rule by noble families. Instead, a central power only mimics the later rule of emperors. Those beneath this supreme command are but proxies and puppets, assigned to both handle lesser duties and distract the public through a façade of a more open government. The territories of Blackmoor have been reshaped as well. Blackmoor's town has grown into a bustling metropolitan hub. While no longer acting as a seat for a global empire, it's still the capital of the new one. Even so, Blackmoor City remains an impressive feat; reaching across water and onto expanded land. The Old Castle still remains, with its eerie dungeons given new life by the elite factions of the land. While some say that a nearby manor watching over the city is used by "the God-King", this is just a front for being seen as normal. The upgraded despot slumbers in secret restoration chambers deep within the dungeon depths. Exploring the revamped complex assumes one can survive the many new devices and creatures funneled in as added security.

Returned Blackmoor map by Sturm, modifying DA combined map by DaveL (originally published here on The Piazza: The full size map which is available in the Vaults of Pandius at this link:, both in the version with superimposed colours of the Political Territories and in a plain version without the colours.

Several affiliated dominions have seen much change as well. The Redwoods became a refuge for humans disgruntled by the rampant industry and unapologetic technocracy. The Afridhi and Peshwah within the region attempted to hold onto old traditions, while otherwise assimilating into a rapidly changing culture. Several counties and districts evolved from once semi-isolated baronies and rival kingdoms. New counties and districts emerged from the old; Capital Blackmoor (which Williamsfort merged into), Ten Duchy, Glendower, Locust Hills, Bramwald, Redwoods (which lies about its "low" Elf population to keep many of them hidden), Far Peaks (including the Superstition Mountains Salvage Zone) and Vestfold are the most prominent divisions of the new Blackmoorian Empire. Amidst reconstruction from the insurrection war, other territories have fallen to the wayside. Some, like Old Starport and Woodenbridge to the west, have been destroyed. Other old sights, like the Valley of the Ancients, were destroyed well before the Great Rain (with the destruction of the Beagle being the reason for the Valley).

In the 1000 years since the glory years of Uther Andahar, Blackmoor built itself up into the ultimate world power. And in a few brief moments, all of it was destroyed. Or rather, it was meant to be destroyed. By twists of luck and fate, Blackmoor was given a chance at survival through a convoluted escape plan into the future. Flung through space and time, the land found itself where it would have otherwise stood. But, much had changed on the continent of Skothar, following the tragedy. The world itself shifted its lands, as whole climates warped over the course of several years. This new Blackmoor found itself battling a savage arctic, accompanied by demoralization, disease and famine. Such troubles only grew when a former icon of the military tore through the lands in unfaltering insurrection. So-Called "Returned Blackmoor" quickly became a grim and isolated place. Under a tyrannical new order, it still rebuilt and healed from its wounds. However, this new damage may only be the beginning.

A Primer on the Heroes, Villains and Organizations of Returned Blackmoor

Many fight for survival in the despotic dystopia formerly known as Blackmoor. Some quest to root out all who oppose the mighty empire. Some simply wander around the land looking for strange oddities from the past or present. Many organize to liberate the crushed land from the hands of a ruthless tyrant. The suppressed and repressed populations all display a wide variety of motivations and morals.

Returned Blackmoor Imperium

The main governing authority over Blackmoor, for over 30 years.

Allogost's Regime

The established power within the realm, leading the regime into a glorious new age. So far, the brutal dictatorship has lasted for decades. Trusted military personnel, scientists, royal defectors and more that have proved their service to the mighty overlord have been granted special privileges within seats of power, such as a personal counsel. Despite a stiff and stoic regime, the powers that be have enacted a degree of progressive change, assuming one is loyal to the nation's cause. Especially loyal patriots are rewarded regardless of race, original ethnicity, gender or other factors commonly hampering other societies in even modern Mystara. However, any outsiders who do not declare or show allegiance to Blackmoor are given the same olden prejudices of yesteryear and today. In fact, it might be far stronger than ever!

Timeline Specifics

The Orders of Justice (The Military)

The forceful extension of Allogost. As a former soldier and high ranking official, he is more than aware of how they operate. More so, they receive much of his attention and his praise. While ensuring that borders remain safe and outsiders are kept away, they also act as the de facto police force within the territory. Against their own citizens, their methods are often cruel and brutal. Against any citizen that shows any kind of doubt or disdain for their government, their actions become exceptionally excessive in force. Often, anyone who protests or objects openly doesn't live through the experience.

Guardsmen - A baseline in rank and an actual acceptance into Blackmoorian military service. While starting recruits are just recognized militia, those who can hold rank are treated as genuine members of armed forces. Many of these starting guardsmen are recruited as older children and young adults, typically boys and young men at that. These low ranking soldiers are often tasked with security in the outlands and around Blackmoor City. Often, they are only equipped to deal with standard-level criminals and scattered raiders at most. Many have taken it upon themselves to act as the unofficial police force of the land. Particularly trusted guardsmen are given warden duties over the various prison facilities. Those who prove worthy of becoming a Chief Warden are granted access to secret government facilities for especially dangerous prisoners.

Ranger Corps - A rank devoted to both frontier colonies as well as the wilderness that has continued to survive among the early hardships of Blackmoor's return to Mystara. A majority of these soldiers are stationed at a variety of outposts dotting the edges of civilization or just beyond it. Rangers excel at rugged survivalism in harsh environments. Those who have proved themselves are given the option to survey the wastelands outside the safety of the energy dome. Only the most hardened and rugged of Blackmoor Rangers would accept this. These rangers, The Zone Rangers, often return with horror stories of warped magic and long-lingering pollutant corruption birthing all sorts of horrors that haunt Skothar. The bravest of World Scouts accompany them on missions to recover artifacts.

World Scouts - The few agents of Blackmoor granted clearance to explore the outside world, from afar. Their goals are to study all forces of Mystara, and to gather any and all intelligence. All the same, they are meant to be incognito and blend in as much as possible. Their expeditions have led them to the land of Glantri. A Blackmoorian conspiracy tells of an ancient artifact linked to the fated ship that transformed the land forever, somehow taken to those lands. Should the Nucleus be learned about in full, this would surely spark a war. They often accompany members of the Reclamation Society as both security and insurance.

Hawk-Hunters - If the World Scouts are spies meant to observe the world at large, the Hawk-Hunters are the Secret Police meant to observe the world within Blackmoor. Almost as heavily equipped as the Knights, they are very much military-officers given full judgement powers within the law. Only trusted guards, law enforcement and ranking soldiers are given the chance at this opportunity. The best hawk-hunters take care of sedition and problematic cases swiftly and quickly. While citizens are aware that they might exist, little is revealed to the public. Some rumors are circulated to keep up a campaign of shadowy fear tactics.

Knights of Blackmoor - Truly outstanding warriors. While only a small number have noble ancestry, the majority are just recruits from Blackmoor's armies, navies and marines; consolidated into an elite order more befitting of their talents. While little has occurred in war campaigns, bands of knights have been sent to deal with more threatening factions, such as the raiders or particularly powerful revolutionaries. Many can be found backing up urban guardsmen, much like how rangers backup outlands guardsmen.

Exe-Corps - Masterfully skilled kill teams. These death squads are crafted of the most emotionally devoid and killer knights that would otherwise prove risky on missions. Some are reformed criminals who sought service instead of execution. These groups are deployed on particularly deadly assignments to wipe out anything in their way. These assignments often involve especially active rebel cells, terrorists, dangerous outsiders and general threats to the Blackmoor campaign's existence.

Commissioners - Commanders, commissars, those who have proved not only their worth in war but in leadership. Their outfits are a mixture of intimidating and flamboyant styles, all providing a striking presence worthy of commanding attention and fear. The officers' club, the Commandant, is a popular place to see high ranking officials that are off-duty. Beware, access is exclusive to the military.

Timeline Specifics.

Blackmoorian Division of Science

Originally an educational program funded by the royal kingdom, it soon developed into an essential extension to help progress Blackmoor into a revolution of innovations and technologies. In the modern day, they are very much the backbone of imperial power. Their breakthroughs have helped to supply new armor and weapons to the soldiers, defenses for the autocratic government and forms of surveillance to use upon the civilian masses. This is merely the start of the land's many emerging wonders. Many have begun to enact fail-safes, for the possibility that Allogost's usurped empire crumbles or even buckles under pressure.

Gorble Medical Tech - Fronted by Dr. Garvin Gorble, a sadistic and maniacal expert of medicine and health-based arcane sciences. His division, working both within Blackmoor University and Carr Memorial Hospital, uses various façades to conceal their primary projects: bioweaponry for the government. A mixture of prisoners and patients are used as subjects. Recently, a branch of the medical techs was sent to help revitalize the Cootsbane Dam as a research center. Information on them has gone dark.

Khoronus Laboratories - All sorts of truly strange and cutting edge ideas are developed here. It is thanks to this division that the barrier shields were properly implemented, with subsequent attempts at terraforming and taking back the land that made the jump.

Uther Space Program - Before the Great Rain and The Jump, there were several investments into expansion beyond the stars. While several early programs were successful in mapping the space around the planet into nearby galactic reaches, no massive undertakings for space colonization were underway at the time. After decades of toil and rebuilding, they've had a number of official launches. Returning to the stars remains a dream, even of Allogost.

Bramwald Defensive Technologies - An arms and armory producer, helping to unveil the latest in destructive goods. Likewise, government vehicles are planned and assembled with this group as well. Many soldiers who show an aptitude for technical developments, engineering and a wider understanding of war technologies are given the chance to work for this division. One recent problem within this division is planted moles, all interested in blueprints for various technical plans. These moles can be from rival scientists, various corporations or even the government wanting a leg-up on new projects. In some cases, rebels and infiltrators want in on these new technologies too.

Blackmoor Public Works - The most public known and friendly division. Works from within here tend to be far more mundane in scope; less intensive vehicles, common appliances, power grids and various facets of everyday life. For the various divisions, being sent to Public Works is deemed an embarrassing downgrade. However, many succumb to the realization that a mundane baseline is essential for keeping life going.

Timeline Specifics

United Guild of Archivists

Knowledge of the old world is heavily preserved within countless archives. Many fear the God-King as an efficient destroyer of seditious information. On the contrary, the majority of olden Blackmoor knowledge is stored in countless secretive locales maintained by a dedicated order of monks in service to their dread leader. In fact, Blackmoor's Ministers of Propaganda are regularly welcomed to peruse the information vaults, in attempts to twist old facts into regime-supporting messages. Many archivists hope for the fall of their usurper king in private, so they can spread knowledge of Blackmoor to the wider world.

Ordo Archivis - The monks within Citadel Archivis, a former castle converted into a huge library fortress. This headquarters serves as the primary station for the archivists to operate from. It is here that networks of data are also stored carefully. Backups upon backups are created in the event of cataclysm once again, in hopes of rebuilding civilization with greater ease. It rests within an old castle in Glendower.

Star Library - Within the Star Gardens is an extension of the Archivists. For the most part, this annex focuses on religious materials. However, a wide array of topics can still be researched here. Beyond the guild itself, only figures of the churches and high ranking officials of the government are allowed within these halls. It's a short trip away from Glendower.

Academy of Knowledge Essentials - Copies of citizen-level knowledge are kept here as a public resource. Several monks double as teachers to give various instructions on wide varieties of subjects and seminars. While school systems exist within the empire, the academy is considered a separate institution for those willing to pay extra. As one would expect, clientele tend to be wealthier residents.

Timeline specifics.

Adventurer's Guilds

While Blackmoor's recent rule in many ways is distanced from the past, it still owes its identity to many traditions. Among them is the adventuring party. By sanctioning of the state, several guilds have been allowed to open; albeit under close scrutiny.

The Reclamation Society - Explorers who set out to find artifacts left behind from the time jump. While their priority is Skothar, they seem to expand their prospects. One cardinal rule is maintaining secrecy and façades. Should you have to interact with the public, give nothing away of your Blackmoorian lineage. Many operate within borders to seek out damaged places and help rebuild them. The Blackmoor Royal Airfield interests them currently, despite tales of hauntings nearby. They've also been granted a secondary job of overseeing and maintaining imports, while creating fabricated stories for the few exports that they carry. These exports are never technological in nature.

Blackmoor Society of High Adventure - An officially approved guild that seeks a return to days of noble adventurers and wandering heroics. Of course, the guild only exists to instill a sense of nostalgia. This isn't to say that they're useless. Many of the adventurers have helped to uncover lost secrets, even within the territory of Blackmoor. While they aren't allowed outside, like the Reclamation Society, their meddling is kept within state interests, rather than personal. Much of this involves hired mercenary work to face targets that the military has little desire to handle. Many create pastiches to ancient Blackmoorian life, ranging from the gaudy to offensively inaccurate representations of history. Many sacred and historical orders are embarrassed by them, but they're protected nonetheless.

Thieves Guild - An unofficial guild that supposedly was "disbanded" long before the takeover. Their interests are only tangential to the Grey Rebellion, let alone any formation from the Rogues' Gallery. Their interest is in the powers of the underground. Their symbol of a staggering rat fits how they've adapted to a society that otherwise demonizes them. That isn't to say they bring much good to the community, helping to assist organized crime in the less protected parts of the territories. Many consider them to be just more civilized raiders. While the State thinks they've infiltrated their ranks with moles, they've ironically done the same to them. This is to ensure that no valid information returns to their rival's clutches. Despite all of this, their focus is of self-interest rather than outright destruction or chaos. But, given their history comprised kidnapping, dangerous substances and more; they're considered quite dangerous to deal with. Their attachment to the rebels is fickle at best, when supreme state forces can easily bribe them to sell out their supposed 'comrades' in a pinch. Their free wild card approach makes them useful enemies to much of Returned Blackmoor. The Skewered Devil Swine, a dirty and dingy place, is a common place to find a member looking for action. Many are divided among various rebellion allegiances.

Timeline Specifics

Religions of Blackmoor

Despite the edict of the God-King being the only figure worthy of worship, other faiths still remain. Many churches dedicated to a handful of Immortals try to recast their focus in a way that still venerates their supreme leader in one way or another, granting them enough clemency to continue their practices. Many operate underground, biding their time before unleashing their divine power upon an unsuspecting nation. It's safe to say that many of these underground cults carry wicked agendas all their own. The majority of acceptable religions are found in the Star Gardens, a series of religious sites where the Temple of Id once stood so many ages ago.

Church of the God-King

The Sanctioned State Religion of Blackmoor. The God-King desires for his title to mean so much more. He is aware that he would have to pass rule down to a desirable replacement, should he gain Immortality. Granted, this replacement would have to be a devoted fanatic. All the same, this would move his theocracy into its final state. Should this happen, he will indirectly have control over the land. And all who resist? They are marked as enemies of the inevitable. His aversion to decay, quasi-Immortality through technomancy and desires for change in his vision has marked him on the path towards Time. This is the official religion of the State.

Timeline Specifics

Nyela and Allogost getting ready to fight, original drawing by Linus Andersson

Cult of Nyela

A Fast-Runner Rakasta proclaims she is on the path to Immortality. News of this has slowly crept its way over to the mainland, after much secrecy, sparking a well deserved panic among the ruling establishment. The Rakasta priestess has long tired of the abuse and neglect inflicted upon her people, using her growing power in the name of revenge. However, her pursuits have corrupted her, unraveling her mind from extreme obsession. Her next goal is to create an artifact that will help her assimilate as many Blackmoorians as possible into rakasta mutants. She’s already taken the ghost town of WildRoot City, now Wild Cat City, as her own. Her religious group tends to push a technophobic agenda within the tribes, many of which chaff under the ruling. Her spiritual advisor has helped her along the way. The cult has tried to avoid being too obvious, but rumors of her activity make Blackmoor’s empire very suspicious.

Timeline specifics

Druids and Elf Priests of the Redwoods

A shocking survivor of the Old World, built from the Elven tribes of old. Once a staunch ally for much of Blackmoor, their connections to the royal family fractured when the royals prioritized potentially harmful arcane-technologies over a respect for nature. Meanwhile, Allogost has taken more pragmatic stances on production, rather than being overtly wasteful. Because of this and his somewhat tolerant stance, the elves and druids looked at the tyrant more neutrally, so long as they could provide a benefit to Blackmoor. That was, until a renegade band assembled to strike Blackmoor. The Empire massacred the Redwoods in response, causing many to hate the regime. Others want to transform Blackmoor's views from the inside, vying for influence and potentially selling out their fellow priesthood. Despite the old Redwoods being prominently Elves, several sages have allowed Humans to join to a degree. Immortal intervention has even allowed for the Elf-Touched (or Half-Elf) to emerge as its own race. Many were Neutral, but are falling to Chaos. Through all of this, ancient elven beliefs have been a means of keeping the society of the forest together. The Empire looks unfavorably upon the sects, looking to take eventual action.

Timeline specifics

Cult of the Machine-God

The result of a gradually rebuilding artificial intelligence, an AWOL cleric and a warren of wererats; even machinations of the Oard. No matter what happened, the result was a sentient machine growing in power, harnessing its rat slaves to help ascend into the first Machine Immortal. Its strangely childish nature causes the machine to go into angry tantrums. Likewise, it's prone to abusing its subjects into submission. Meanwhile, it treats its more humanoid subjects like lost sons and daughters, to the resentment of the wererats. Some believe it can grant spells, but other entropic forces sponsor the machine's divinity... and its priests, for now. Knowledge outside of the cult is vague, but enough to prompt investigation.

Timeline specifics

The Egg of Coot

An Elder Evil that has haunted the shadows of Blackmoor for ages. Its apparent demise helped to cause the Great Rain of Fire in the first place. And even then, it awaits for the moment to awaken renewed in the modern age of Mystara. All worship is banned, inspiring crusades at the soonest discovery.

Timeline Specifics

The Court of Carcosan Crimson

The King in Crimson isn't the only contender who watches Blackmoor with vicious delight. His wife has many names, among them is the infamous Cleansing Mother. The warped high priestess is actually The Queen in Crimson, a dreadful Entropic Immortal, in disguise. Both are Chaotic Immortals of Entropy. Worship has remained secret enough, for now.

Timeline Specifics

Other Religions of Blackmoor

The Neo-Tribes of Blackmoor

Modern day tribes are composed of former Blackmoor inhabitants, refugees and long distance travelers. These range from the descendents of cultures beyond Blackmoor to a kingdom of people simply uninterested in modern politics. Among the largest groups to survive persecution and targeting are the Mountain and Plains Rakasta.

Beyond the true tribes, there are also the cells of the Rogues' Gallery. These individual groups and factions are composed of outsider cultures and misfits. All have become distant and alienated from mainstream society, seeing it as a product of a dystopia. While many of these diverse groups would integrate back into society if it changed, there are a vast amount of groups that would prefer to see Blackmoor crumble. All-in-all, the rebellion is hardly unified and is composed of ideologies that often find themselves butting heads with each other.

Outsiders and Outlanders

Rogues' Gallery

An umbrella term for various forms of rebellion and general unlawful behavior. Due to being pigeonholed together, many criminals have taken advantage of situations and even the actual rebellion against Blackmoor itself. The majority of them either live underground or away from the mainstays of civilization. In a sense, they're tribes all of their own.

The Grey Rebellion - Named for heroes of the ancient past, this grouping leads the charge against the nefarious plans of the Imperium of Blackmoor. In all, an effort to subvert and end the worst of the dark but relatively recent state. They hold dominion far outside of the main city. Many defector soldiers have joined their cause recently.

The Oracle's Defenders - Named for an ancient Peshwah mystic who arrived into Blackmoor, this order is far more ancient than most of the City itself today. They believe that balance must be achieved in all things, including empire. Furthermore, the weapon and body must unite as one through rigorous training and meditation. To misuse one is to misuse the other, by their decree. Many seek cybernetic implants to further this agenda

The Weasel's Cabal - Cultists of the Egg of Coot. Their only interest is in spreading chaos throughout Blackmoor. Named after The Baron Weasel of Blackmoor legend. Their goal is infiltrating all divided groups and sects to help further their resurrection agenda. In terms of Coot cults, they're by far the most organized.

The Grey Outcasts - Frustrated rebels who found the movement too soft, taking a more aggressive approach. Many are terrorists and extremists, the cause of several damaging strikes including Cootsbane Dam. To many, they are little more than raiders with a greater purpose.

The Innovator Initiative - A group of scientists disgruntled by the Allogost's rampant authority. Their goals are pacifistic, aiming to calmly integrate with the rest of Mystara well before Allogost's war plans go into action. Many still work within the various scientific divisions, in hopes of changing it from the inside. While they cooperate with various rebel groups, they prefer to hide in plain sight. Many still go about day to day research projects, while providing help on the side.

'Fact Runners - Or Artifact Runners. Pirates dedicated to the black market exporting of Blackmoorian goods. Their stake in this mostly lies in exploitation. The difference between them and the Outcasts is that they don't like getting too involved in direct violence, unless they can get away with nice goods. In fact, they're responsible for Esterhold's attention being grabbed in the first place.

The House of Andahar - Allogost proclaimed that he had slain all of the royal family and their support. He was wrong. While independent from the Rogues' Gallery, the remnants of the royal family operate in shadows and act under proxy. There is little they can actually accomplish from the guise of stealth. Despite aiding in the rebellion, the remainder still carry a lot of old world racism, especially towards the Rakasta. There is a subtle feeling of distrust and disdain for non-humans in their speech.

Timeline Specifics

Other Tribes

Wild Folk - A loose umbrella for people forsaking the technologies of Blackmoor to live on their own in the wilderness. Even the Redwoods Elves and druids are considered to be under this category. The greatest among them is King Ignur's Old Blackmoor, located beyond the Duchy of the Peaks. Or rather, what’s left of it.

Timeline Specifics

The Rakasta of Blackmoor

There are two distinct tribes to emerge from the Rakasta of Blackmoor. They are the Wild Blown Plains Tribe, residing in the wasteland-bordering deserts of southern Blackmoor and the Snow Peaks Tribe, residing in the magically-rebuilt mountains formerly known as the Dragon Hills. Wild Cat City emerged in the wastelands as a kind of frontier town.

Wind Blown Plains Tribe - Tired of poor interactions with the Esterhold region, a massive tribe went on a journey to find an isolated home. Their journey was taken off-course, sending them northward. By accident, they found Blackmoor. They are now located in the Badlands beyond The Wastelands, which have taken over much of the area south of Root River and Rat Lake. The central clan retains a matriarchal tradition, but other clans have become much more informal with this.

Snow Peaks Tribe - After hearing stories of rakasta making their way to an unknown land, as well as northerners going insane on an adventure, faltering tribes of Lyncasta embarked on a journey for a new home. Ultimately, they discovered the fabled Blackmoor. Snow Pardasta, not long after, found their way as well. But to the Blackmoorians, they listed them under the same general catfolk label. Some records merged them with fast runners. They have taken well to the Dragon Hills, which through chaotic magical means have become more mountain-like.

Outliers and Notable Tribe Members

Timeline Specifics

Lupins of Blackmoor

Against all likelihood, even ancient Lupin breeds made the jump between timelines. While most were outcasts, some are mutants from the late days of old Blackmoor. In most cases, they escaped the clutches of Blackmoor after the great leap sent them to modern Mystara. There is a split between the Wolvenfolk and the Coyotl, each forming their own tribes. The Wolvenfolk take to the magically reforged Uberstar Mountains. The Coyotl much prefer the desert wastelands along the Wurm River.

In the case of the former, the grown Uberstar Mountains sport the hardy and strong Wolf Lupin breed. Despite staying true to their tribes of old, they've nonetheless incorporated motifs and inspiration from the ages of servitude to Blackmoor. Some level of arcane technology is implemented around various villages and dwellings, but it's strict in self-discipline and utilitarian at best. As for the Coyotl Lupin breed, they prefer a more simple approach. They rely on the wilderness of the desert wasteland, at least areas that aren't toxic zones. The river itself is predominantly clean, causing an increased fish diet. While both have made neutrality pacts with the dwarves of the region, neither tribe is against consuming properly prepared human meat in darker times.

Timeline Specifics

Raiders of Bloodshed

A raider tribe assembled from deserter soldiers, wild men, thieves, former rebels and countless other outcasts. Their purpose is drenched in violence, fulfilling the revenge filled desires of the Cult of Personality that runs them. Morris and the newly recruited Stephen are both viable successors for future leadership. They act as a cruel parody of the Knights of Blackmoor.

Timeline Specifics

Orcs of Blackmoor

A once feared power, it has faded in importance for nearly 600 years (in real Blackmoorian time). Despite this stagnation, the orcs have adapted far better than the jumbled beastmen chased up north. Due to facing long superior foes, the Orcs of Stormkiller Mountains and beyond took towards becoming self-sufficient. While raids still occurred, they were targeted and practical. In the decades leading to the big time jump, they became focused on capturing and reverse engineering technology. Orcish creations proved more destructive, but cumbersome, clunky and hideous to behold. While destruction is no longer their goal, they are quick to make threats on anyone who dares to transgress against them. As such, the modern Orc lands are usually just left alone.

Timeline Specifics

Other Cultures of Blackmoor

The Skandaharians, Tanagoro and Peshwah are mere shells of their former selves, especially after being severed from either their homelands or ancestral cultures for so long. The Afridhi don’t officially exist anymore. Many still try to hold some connection by any means necessary.

Skandaharians - The viking legions just north of Blackmoor had a tenuous relationship with the emerging empire far before it was turned around under Uther's orders. And even then, the many jarldoms still saw conflict up till the later ages of Blackmoor. But, in most later cases, matters were driven by competition and innovation. Improved relations forged the Embassy of Skandahara in Blackmoor City. In the end, the Great Rain severed them from their home, leading to the remainder to band together in a tightly knit ethnic community.

Peshwah - Downtrodden and beaten almost as badly as the Afridhi, the Peshwah were known for their skills in horse riding. With horses becoming a commodity in Blackmoor, they turned to other means of preserving culture. This became harder after a significant City-State of theirs was destroyed. Now, they just seek to keep their culture alive in the Western Hak, a land they once claimed in history. While they do no major harm against Blackmoorians, they have little issue with striking down the gnolls.

Tangor - From the southern regions of Skothar, several tribes and nations arose from the hot and steamy jungle lands. Among them were the Tanagoro people, powerful and mighty, a true statement of empire. Those who came to Blackmoor even carved out their own niches of industry and culture. Elements of their culture continued, even in a foreign land. Prudent ideals, a strict but creative mind and celebration of a united family became preserved values that held communities together. Recently, curiosity has grabbed them. Many desire to know what has become of their southern home. With news of an old company president being spotted after a long expedition, many Tangor-descended Blackmoorians eagerly await updates. More than likely, most of these people are descendents of the Tanagoro.

Afridhi - Born to follow the ways of Zugzul, their methods were harsh and without mercy. In the end, it was mostly their undoing. Many fled, some residing in what would one day become modern Ylaruam. Their hope for revival came from troops of easily tricked beastmen, who were reshaped by dark magic into hyena-like gnolls. Ultimately, the gnolls not only assimilated into Afridhi culture, but took it over. Most live near the present Rakasta tribal clans of the Plains.

Timeline Specifics

More Adventures in Returned Blackmoor

In addition to the ideas presented in the original article, here are some extra concepts to build into a campaign.

AN-ARCH-YYYYYY!: Extreme rebels have taken notice of the world at large. Their goal? Destabilize and crumble the various governments and markets of the world. Only then, can the world truly be free. Their plans for afterwards? They're not even sure.

Beyond Blackmoordome: The Lord of Bloodshed was a capable leader, Stephen the Rock is far more so. Lord William perishes “mysteriously” and Stephen takes over. A clone with the mind of a brilliant classic villain, the raiders enter a new age. A guerilla army turns into a tactical powerful, trumping and outdoing Allogost’s own knights at every turn. More rural and frontier communities can’t cope with the brilliant warlord, as survivors are enslaved or repurposed in some other awful way. Through his sweet tongue and brutal action, the Orc tribes and Gnolls find themselves brought into the fold. An ambitious enough war would destroy Blackmoor for good. The growing raider group meets secretly in a ghost town in the wastelands, within a domed stadium building.

Brother-meets-Brother: Another signal has been received from space, demanding aid. It seems the very same "Rotfiends from Space" are attacking them as well, after being fought off six years ago. They request backup. Should all go well, a lost society of Blackmoorians or Thonians could be recovered and used to grow Returned Blackmoor.

Dynasty of Doom!: The current lead oracle of the New Monastery has unveiled a terrifying timeline. Allogost's dynasty has indeed expanded in the future. The sealed off kingdom has returned to the world in full. Beyond that, it has spread, much like Blackmoor at the height of its power. A crumbled Thyatis shares space with a new Blackmoor capital. And watching above, Allogost, Immortal of Time. Priests of Khoronus fear who would dare sponsor the overlord for ascension. Word of the vision spreads through the lands.

Devils… Monsters…!: Whether in the comforts of civilization, the reclaimed wilderness or the tainted wastes; fonts of corruption have caused monsters to return to threaten Blackmoor. They wander the ruins, dungeons, mountains, plains and even the dark alleys of city streets. Some are just the results of a natural order spurned, others are the fault of Blackmoor’s own advancements. Mutants and magical things prepare for an attack.

New Dungeons of Blackmoor: While evading the Great Rain of Fire's worst power, a separate apocalypse wounded a rising Blackmoor. The end result is countless lairs and dungeons, taken over by madmen and monsters. A new age of adventure awaits for those to delve and face what lurks below. In addition to classical sites, new accursed places have emerged; the Valley Wastelands, the Backburner Ruins, the Haunted Black Hills, the Peaks Duchy Exclusion Zone, the Detrituswood Swamp and more await. Even the classic Blackmoor Castle hosts strange things! Likewise, plenty of abandoned places fill Blackmoor: Sul Peshwah, South Pim, Gile’s Station, Woodenbridge Quarantine Zone and many more are examples.

I Don't Want Your Civil War: The Rebellion has become more than effective, but so has Returned Blackmoor! The nation is divided and a new type of war breaks out. This War of Brothers causes untold devastation to the land. No matter who comes out victor, how will they survive the carnage? Will the world at large be ready for the victor?

Machine vs. Machine?: The invention of the Aether-Web revolutionized magic, technology and information as a whole! The addition of a powerful A.I. has turned it into a powerful weapon. The Machine-God, learning of this, has made a call to action. Uther V.1 mobilizes peoples and technology alike against the outside threat!

Nyela's Beastmoor: The cult prevails and Nyela ascends, with her most devout wielding powerful artifacts. Gnolls, Gatormen, Froggies and other animalmen join. Worse, Nyela’s magical hex has turned into a contagious virus. In a short time, matters change from disappearances to an apocalyptic outbreak of shifted beasts. The plague escapes the shield, beginning its wrath upon Mystara as well. It’s likely the Hollow World will be the savior of non-beastkind, if intervention fails to stop the world from being consumed.

Red Curse of Coot: Not only does the Egg of Coot get closer to reawakening, its spread of corrupted magic helps make it aware of the Red Curse. Following the Wrath of the Immortals, the Red Curse spreads. Combined with lingering essences of the Egg's dark magic, it grows closer to its goal. Even worse, the Red Curse begins to change, as do those who are afflicted. Horrifying Coot creatures begin to manifest in the region. Plus, magic begins to act stranger in areas more hampered by the Red Curse. A team of adventurers must get to the bottom of this at once! All that is known is that strands of alien magic can be traced back to Skothar.

Return of the Living Dead: The Cult of Nyela has been tricked from the start, as it turns out Old-as-Dust was truly destined for ascension, despite the Blackmoorian Radiance making him lich-like. The King and Queen of the Carcosan Court ultimately hear his calls, as he massacres and reanimates much of Nyela's cult before becoming an Immortal of Entropy. The Plains tribe tries their best to fend off undead former-comrades and mutants alike, but ultimately falls back in a search for help. The ascension allows the undead in Cootsbane to grow stronger, allowing them and countless experiments to overpower the soldiers and rebels, escaping beyond. Nyela, while devastated by loss, is still powerful in spiritual arts and vows revenge. The rest of the tribe assembles forces, even calling upon the mainland regime itself. Legions of necromancers and fell technologists side with Old-as-Dust, as a war to save the living in Blackmoor (and maybe beyond) begins.

Rise of the Machine: Abductions on the outskirts of protected Locust Hills territory become more common. Victims return displaying scarification on the head and experience alien memories. In truth, the Machine-God has marked them. Someday, when its control device is fully online, an army of brainwashed will join the legions of cyborgs in an all-out conquest campaign! A.M. will then deploy mechanized minions, to scorch the lands and rebuild them in the artificial intelligence's image. Only then will it be "worthy of the immortals"!

Stop that, it's silly!: The Immortals beyond Blackmoor have become fed up. Rather than annihilating the nation, at risk of all reality, they hand it over to Ka in the Hollow World. In the end, a majority of the Blackmoorian Immortals concede to this. The Valley of Blacklore Elves is merged with a New Blackmoor, bolstering the weakened elven population. Plans for new campaigns become embarrassing failures, as equipment fails rapidly beyond national borders. In truth, much like Blacklore Valley, the magic of the world now powers the devices. Thus, upon leaving the land, they fail. Relations with the Blackmore Elves waver, due to the stagnant aloofness within the elf culture. The Redwood Elves especially despise Blacklore. The Spell of Preservation furthers all of this gloom. Should Wrath of the Immortals happen, Blackmoor is doomed.

The Beast Within: Both the Lupins and Rakasta of each respective tribe begin to catch onto what is happening. Likewise, undocumented Lupin and Rakasta have been spotted beyond various registered counties, all not long after disappearances started. Reluctantly, representatives from each tribe assist Blackmoor's government in searching for the culprit. Nyela's cult has grown nervous, fearing failure for her plans.

The Comeback Paradox!: The Comeback Inn somehow materializes before the time jump. However, it shouldn't have done this. While time should have corrected itself, causing it to fly to the Broken Lands, it somehow stayed and existed in two places at once. For over 30 years, temporal destabilization has built up with few the wiser. While the Inn stopped bringing others to ancient Blackmoor, weird things have happened from inside. Before anyone finalizes major plans, a rift opens from within the building, causing anomalies through time to make their way into Blackmoor. Among them? Ancient enemies like the Serpentine, the Oard and creations of The Egg of Coot! Journey into the rift, Where Time Shatters!

The Great Upheaval, Beast Tribes: Nyela is defeated (with a chance at living), with Old-as-Dust outright destroyed, as Najimma takes up the role of leadership. Sparks is devastated, unless his adoptive mother lives. Within the Lupins, the traitors have been identified and mostly removed. Even Screams of Torment is held in contempt for his brutal ways. Both aim to win the respects of Blackmoor, in hopes of being properly welcomed. If Allogost dies, there is fear that Queen Andahor won’t be ready to accept them though. A gnoll civil war seeks to eradicate supporters of Nyela. However, a new conflict arises; integration vs. tradition. Nyela's technique is still known to some, but only used for humans looking to join a respective tribe.

The Great Upheaval, Ignur's Kingdom: In time, more attention comes to the isolated and technophobic curiosity. Should Allogost still exist, he'd see it as a farce until finding a reason to erase it. In a new Blackmoor, such a land would likely be avoided. Though, a return to an Andaharan regime would see an olive branch extended to a surviving noble house. Eventually, King Ignur might warm up to some of contemporary society, but will still prefer just enough distance from everything. However, in the event of mutant attacks or destructive gatormen, he'll accept outside help.

The Great Upheaval, Machine-Men: The Machine-God is Dead! The fight against the Oard was a lie! As Blackmoor continues to grasp with reactions to cyborgs, the Machine-Men too must adapt. Should Allogost still be alive, a potential shift in opinion could make him open up as a cyborg. Convincing the olden minded Leena could be trickier, some fear that they’ll have to wait for her successor to be liberal on this matter.

The Great Upheaval, Nation of Blackmoor: Allogost and his henchmen are dead! After much heated agreement, a temporary council has agreed to instate Queen Andahar as the monarch of this new Blackmoor. Amends are made and propositions for a better future are declared. An era of rebuilding has begun, but the current situation remains rather bleak. The first order of business is removing Blackmoor from its Pocket Dimension hiding place and back into the world at large. This is a time in need of heroes. Imperium sympathizers, dread cultists, mutated abominations and more seek to undo this progress.

The Great Upheaval, Redwoods: The Elves of the Redwood and beyond still remain at a breaking point. The Druids still want amends. Greater Redwood County is its own independent state once more, with wartime reparations made for damage caused by the previous regime. Elder Reflecting Glades succumbs to age, asking the help of heroes to ensure a successor brings the land into an age of peace, rather than more war. An elven general, behind Reflecting Glades' back, suggests ironic extremes for dealing with radicals.

The Great Upheaval, The Egg Be Dammed: An essence of The Egg is found within the dam. Needless to say, the area is either cleansed of all energy or outright destroyed. This has led to a massive crusade against anything Egg of Coot, actively suppressing it where it might emerge. In fact, its base of operations; a scarred wasteland, is savagely attacked till little remains once more. The loss of countless cultists causes worry to die down, for now. Should Allogost's regime survive, the Cootsbane Dam incident becomes a major scandal that badly damages the government's reputation.

The Prince in Crimson: The King and Queen in Crimson see Allogost as their potential champion. After years of corrupting his sanity and wearing him down, he is ready to join their court. Their dread powers of Entropy give him a task of eliminating his enemies and destruction of all who dare go against him. His campaign ultimately helps him ascend into the Court after a cohort betrays and kills him. The Carcosan Court becomes the fiercest foe in all of Blackmoor, with cultists and monsters bringing anguish for all!

WAAAAGH!: The psychic orc raiders of the Coot Wastes have gained an extra helping hand, maybe from the Egg itself! This brings a terrifying revelation, they might learn to properly use their powers! The results could make them nearly unstoppable! This mystery benefactor must be stopped at all costs.

We Come in Peace: Another transmission is heard from space, also in Thonian. It seems we aren't alone and neither are they. Alien life, not unlike the Beagle Crew, discovers the heavily advanced Blackmoor and breaks through their bubble shield (or if they've returned to the prime material, their lands). What do such aliens want? Why would the Immortals let them in? What are they planning?

Woe to him who is crowned: Enemies of the King and Queen in Crimson have gradually been neutralized. The forces of Coot have been nullified, but its power has been taken to bring about a new Nightmare. A connection to the Dimension of Nightmare begins to form within Skothar, as terrible creatures begin to manifest in greater numbers. And where there is one doorway, there are many more. The Voyage to Carcosa draws near!

Yarr Harr Fiddle Dee Dee: The pirate cells of the Rogues' Gallery have been doing their craft quite well. All sorts of contraband and artifacts have been smuggled to the wider world. Irresponsible use of magitech had been a reason for the Great Rain of Fire in the past, but this doesn't bother the morally ambiguous pirate gangs. Some are intelligent enough on instructing buyers, for an extra consultation fee of course.


Aaron Allston - The Hollow World” (Blacklore Elves, Ka the Preserver), Wrath of the Immortals” (Fate of the Beagle, Nucleus of the Spheres)

Átila Pires dos Santos - Lupin Breeds/History of the Lupins” (Wolvenfolk, Coyotl, Aardvolk), (THRESHOLD Magazine #2)

Brian Rubinfeld - Returned Blackmoor” (Primer on Returned Blackmoor), (Threshold 20)/The Egg Be Damned (Cootsbane Dam activity, Conspiracies), (THRESHOLD Magazine #22)

Bruce Heard - GAZ3: Principalities of Glantri” (Radiance)/Rakasta of Mystara (Breeds) (DRAGON Magazine #247)/Lupins of the Mystara Setting (Breeds) (Dragon #237), GAZ7: The Northern Reaches” (Loki)

David J. Ritchie & Dave Arneson - DA module series (Various Blackmoor inspiration)

Graeme Morris - Where Chaos Reigns” (Oard, Time Travel)

James Mishler - The Age of Blackmoor” (Serpentine)

Jeff Grubb - Spelljammer: Adventures in Space (Giff, Wildspace, Crystal Spheres)

John Calvin - Mystara 2300 BC” (The Shimmering Lands)

Malco Dalmonte - Zugzul” (The Cult of Zugzul in Nithia)


Novels/Literature - DC Comics New 52 Animal Man, Magic Inc., The Dark Tower Saga, 1632 series, Shannara series, A Canticle for Leibowitz, Various Phillip K. Dick

Tabletop Gaming - Cyberpunk 2020, Warhammer 40,000

TV/Film - The X-Files/Millenium, Star Wars, Doctor Who (especially Battlefield and Survival)

Video Games - Quake, Hexen/Heretic, Blood, Might & Magic series, Halo