Dead Elf Dungeon
A network of caverns in Blackmarch, including an abandoned outpost of the alien phraint who invaded and conquered much of the Dragon Empire in an earlier Age. “Dead Elf Dungeon” is the crude nickname Foothold soldiers gave it after its discoverers described participating in ghostly battles between Imperial forces and wild elves while exploring its depths. Unfortunately it seems to have stuck.
The dungeon has two known entrances, both now guarded by soldiers at Count Henry’s orders:
- An abandoned smuggler’s den beneath a haunted house in Low East Side has two ways into the caverns: a gate sealed with the signs of the Emperor and the Lich King, and a secret door nearby. The secret door was discovered by a party of goblins and half-orcs and smashed open.
- The main gate leading down to the abandoned outpost of the phraint is located in the woods outside Foothold.
What we know of the dungeon’s history is sketchy at this point. A journal found by adventurers tells us that in the 11th Age a ruthless Dragon Emperor dispatched an army of humans and dwarves, led by General Grange, to this region to slaughter a tribe of wild elves who defied his will. The army pursued the elves into the caverns and killed them all, but at a terrible price: the elf shaman cursed the army to never leave the caverns alive.
When the dead began to rise and attack the living, the remaining soldiers barricaded themselves in a large room containing what appeared to be a portal to other worlds built by the phraint. They found a nearby cavern filled with edible fungi but strange things lurked in there – and foragers reported seeing the elf shaman alive, and transformed.
Soon afterward, living shadows with bat wings began preying on the survivors, strangling them or in some cases possessing them and forcing them to attack their comrades. The shadows would also steal magic items, sometimes returning them with a curse on them. For example, when General Grange found his stolen armor and put it on, he was incapable of taking it off again and it caused him to fly into murderous rages. A wizard’s ring of invisibility was taken, and when he got it back and put it on he found that it wouldn’t let him become visible again.
Eventually the general became obsessed with the idea that both he and the elves had been tricked by someone or something that was hiding in the dungeon. He announced he was going to find the deceiver, but never came back.
The journal ends there. No record exists of any of the soldiers escaping, and the curse remains in place, so it is likely that the remaining survivors were either killed by monsters or starved to death — unless they managed to make the phraint portal work. If so, their fate is unknown.
- Bat swarms
- Bats of unusual size
- Deathless cursed humans, dwarves and elves
- Ghouls (1 spotted fleeing, presumably others are nearby)
- Shadow thieves