Signup
Welcome to... Canonfire! World of GreyhawK
Features
Touring the Flanaess
Cities of
Oerth
Deadly Denizens
Greyhawk Wiki
#greytalk
JOIN THE CHAT
ON DISCORD
    Canonfire :: View topic - Fort Blackwell questions.
    Canonfire Forum Index -> World of Greyhawk Discussion
    Fort Blackwell questions.
    Author Message
    GreySage

    Joined: Jul 26, 2010
    Posts: 2531
    From: LG Dyvers

    Send private message
    Tue Jul 19, 2011 8:42 pm  
    Fort Blackwell questions.

    Okay. Fort Blackwell and the surrounding area will be the locus for an adventure I'm currently working on. I prefer to stick to canon without making up more than is necessary, but I'm having trouble discovering much in print to date.

    There seems to be no listing for 'Fort Blackwell' in either the Greyhawk Wiki or Wikipedia. When I Google 'Fort Blackwell', Mortellan's Greyhawkery site is the only real hit that comes up. As much as I appreciate his annecdotal recounting of the (mis)adventures of the characters in his Sea Princes Campaign, they aren't providing me with the answers to my questions.

    So, for anyone with any insight into the matter, here's what I'm wondering:

    1) When was Fort Blackwell established? Was it after the Greyhawk wars, during, shortly before, or a long time before?
    2) Who established it? Was it a group of adventurers needing a safe wooden stockade in which to rest between forays into the Amedio Jungle, a group of Sea Prince slave traders, a Scarlet Brotherhood forward operating post, a haven for escaped slaves, or something else?
    3) What is its history?
    4) Are there any important NPCs and/or organizations associated with Fort Blackwell other than those mentioned briefly in Paizo's Savage Tide Adventure Path?

    As mentioned, the Savage Tide Adventure Path from Paizo is the only reference I have been able to find that has any information on Fort Blackwell. I could happily invent the answers to all the above questions, but it would be silly to do so only to discover that contradictory information has already been established as canon.

    So, if any such information exists, please point me to it. I am also perfectly happy researching fan-created material related to Fort Blackwell. After all, if we fans do our best to keep our own writing consistant, it will work better for all of us. Smile

    SirXaris
    Forum Moderator

    Joined: Feb 26, 2004
    Posts: 2570
    From: Ullinois

    Send private message
    Tue Jul 19, 2011 9:37 pm  

    Wow. I got the top hit? Kewl.

    Best I can figure, the map of the Amedio in Scarlet Brotherhood shows several forts dotting the coast, some active, some ruined. None named. This publication comes after GH Wars so one could assume they are made by the SB to further slave capturing or whatnot. I dismiss this however since the Hold was there for centuries before the SB took over, and they used slaves just as much if not more. So, most of those forts had to be of Holder origin and probably still are maintained by them even when the SB is in control.

    There is precedent the Hold was trying to settle the Amedio before Paizo created Sasserine. Treasures of Greyhawk has a mini-module that deals with exploring the ruins of a burnt Hold village on the Amedio coast.

    So, Paizo most likely named and developed Fort Blackwell going off the scant info you already know. There is also a fort west of Sasserine that was named in Savage Tide: Fort Fendawor. I'm not sure theres any info on it, but I can't imagine its much different than Blackwell.

    Interestinly Scarlet Brotherhood has names and decent info on scads of forts over on the Tilvanot and Hepmona coasts. I guess Reynolds ran out of gas by the end of the book when he did the Amedio.
    GreySage

    Joined: Jul 26, 2010
    Posts: 2531
    From: LG Dyvers

    Send private message
    Tue Jul 19, 2011 9:43 pm  

    Thanks mortellan. If there isn't any more information on Fort Blackwell out there, then I'm happy to fill in the blanks as needed for my adventure. However, if anyone knows of something that I've missed - canon or fanon - please let me know.

    SirXaris
    Forum Moderator

    Joined: Feb 26, 2004
    Posts: 2570
    From: Ullinois

    Send private message
    Tue Jul 19, 2011 10:35 pm  

    Yup! Go to town. For a second there, I was concerned there was a fort Blackwell in the Greyhawk domain, but that is Blackwall Keep. So close!
    Master Greytalker

    Joined: Aug 17, 2004
    Posts: 898
    From: Computer Desk

    Send private message
    Wed Jul 20, 2011 8:32 am  

    True, the SB has no specific information but scant clues exist as to the feel of the jungle operations.

    The forts seem primitive affairs - no castles - think more fortified trading posts. The role seems to be similar to the colonial europeans before colonization.

    1) Acquisition of resources and slaves for manufactured goods.
    2) Emissaries sent to entice allies and meddle in "native affairs".

    The various tribes seems split as to there attitudes which causes increased tensions as well as violence amongst the tribes and coastal forts. It is the natives that arrive to trade resources and slaves at the fort. The sb rarely enter the jungle and other then a small garrison these forts seem to exist more as collection points for export.


    Last edited by Crag on Wed Jul 20, 2011 12:39 pm; edited 1 time in total
    GreySage

    Joined: Jul 26, 2010
    Posts: 2531
    From: LG Dyvers

    Send private message
    Wed Jul 20, 2011 8:44 am  

    While all that you gentlemen say is true, what small bit of information that is available for Fort Blackwell (from the Savage Tide) includes the fact that it is one of only a very few coastal Amedian forts that is not controlled by the Scarlet Brotherhood. Wink

    SirXaris
    Forum Moderator

    Joined: Feb 26, 2004
    Posts: 2570
    From: Ullinois

    Send private message
    Wed Jul 20, 2011 9:42 pm  

    Huh. I find it incredible that of all the forts, the SB can't control the one fort that guards the cape of the Amedio. It must be well-defended.
    Adept Greytalker

    Joined: Apr 11, 2009
    Posts: 342
    From: Aspedri

    Send private message
    Fri Jul 22, 2011 6:04 pm  

    A couple of good sources for life in a place like Fort Blackwell can be found in a biography of John Newton (From Disgrace to Amazing Grace). He spent a couple of years setting up a slaving operation in Africa in the mid-18th century as a young man, then subsequently became a slave-ship captain. Ironically, he became a minister and a leading abolitionist in later life, and is most famous now for the song Amazing Grace. However, his experiences in a small fort on the African Coast were quite harrowing.

    Another source is the biography I read of Robert Clive (Life and Death of a British Emperor, by Harvey). Clive spent his early career in a factory in India competing with the French for a very lucrative trade by means mercantile and martial.

    I think the Fort Blackwell would fit between these two examples.


    Last edited by tarelton on Sat Jul 23, 2011 4:57 am; edited 1 time in total
    GreySage

    Joined: Jul 26, 2010
    Posts: 2531
    From: LG Dyvers

    Send private message
    Fri Jul 22, 2011 8:12 pm  

    Thanks tarelton! Smile

    I'm aware of the short history of John Newton which you described, but haven't read that biography. It, and Life and Death... sound like great sources of inspiration. I'll be sure to check them out at my local library.

    I just finished a piece about the Pilgrims and Plymouth. Lots of good stuff in there - names of historical figures, places, events, etc., which could be adapted to virtual adventuring. Cool

    SirXaris
    Adept Greytalker

    Joined: Apr 11, 2009
    Posts: 342
    From: Aspedri

    Send private message
    Mon Jul 25, 2011 4:22 pm  

    SirXaris,

    Happy to oblige. All that book learning is finally good for something I guess. I would also suggest the lives of Francis Drake and "Captain" Jon Smith might be useful as well in your background development.
    GreySage

    Joined: Jul 26, 2010
    Posts: 2531
    From: LG Dyvers

    Send private message
    Mon Jul 25, 2011 4:52 pm  

    tarelton wrote:
    SirXaris,

    Happy to oblige. All that book learning is finally good for something I guess. I would also suggest the lives of Francis Drake and "Captain" Jon Smith might be useful as well in your background development.


    Sir Francis Drake's (knighted by Queen Elizabeth of England upon returning from his unplanned circumnavigation of the earth) exploits were part of the inspiration for the sneaky tactics used in Roman Polanski's Pirates.

    Wasn't Jon Smith the one known as 'Captain Kidd'?

    SirXaris
    Adept Greytalker

    Joined: Apr 11, 2009
    Posts: 342
    From: Aspedri

    Send private message
    Tue Jul 26, 2011 7:37 am  

    I was referring to the rogue "captain" who was the leader of the Jamestown Colony in Virginia. Captain Kidd was properly styled William Kidd, and was a separate individual.
    GreySage

    Joined: Jul 26, 2010
    Posts: 2531
    From: LG Dyvers

    Send private message
    Tue Jul 26, 2011 8:14 am  

    Ah, yes. My silly confusion. Razz

    SirXaris
    CF Admin

    Joined: Jul 28, 2001
    Posts: 500
    From: on the way to Bellport

    Send private message
    Mon Jul 06, 2020 10:13 pm  

    SirXaris wrote:
    Thanks mortellan. If there isn't any more information on Fort Blackwell out there, then I'm happy to fill in the blanks as needed for my adventure. However, if anyone knows of something that I've missed - canon or fanon - please let me know.

    SirXaris

    SirXaris, what did you decide about Fort Blackwell's founding and history before the Scarlet Brotherhood conquered the Sea Princes?

    I'm beginning to develop this region for MC and would love to learn from you—and anyone else who's developed this region.

    My initial thoughts are that the named forts of the Hook were settled either by the proto-troglodytes or the Olman peoples of the Amedian Jungle. Then the Firstcomer Suel conquered them during the Great Migrations. These settlements devolved as the Firstcomer Suel degenerated into the "savage" Amedi Suel, and they were in turn conquered (and lost) multiple times by Suel of House Toli and House Rhola (per Samwise's articles on the subject) and their successors (i.e., explorers and settlers from the Sea Princes and Keoland).

    Thus, from at least CY 433 (when Luschan V disappears) until CY 584 (when the Scarlet Brotherhood conquers the Sea Princes), Keoland would have lost control of any of its remaining colonies (forts), and they all would have developed under the Sea Princes. Most should be "small towns" (pop. 900 to 2,000), and a handful might be "large towns" (pop. 2,000 to 5,000).

    Finally, I started reviewing the description of Sasserine in Dungeon 139 and recall why I disliked it the first time I read it: instead of building carefully on preexisting Greyhawk publications, the Savage Tide AP continued the unfortunate path of the Shackled City: just plop a "large city" (per the LGG) in the Amedio Jungle without any serious effort to make it relate well to the setting. IMO, instead of creating Sasserine, Jacobs et al. should have detailed Monmurg or Port Toli.
    GreySage

    Joined: Aug 03, 2001
    Posts: 3110
    From: Michigan

    Send private message
    Tue Jul 07, 2020 10:55 am  

    Maria Deltorre posted an alternate origin for the name "Sasserine" on her blog.

    Quote:
    Amedi, the namesake of the Suloise barbarian savages in the jungle, was a suel mage of power who resigned that position to expand the Suel empire eastward, hoping to make himself emperor of a new Eastern Suel Empire. He never accomplished that, running into unexpected opposition from the olman, touv and to a very limited extent, flan, but he did manage to become a suel lich and construct a major pyramid like lair for himself in the jungle, which is now mistakenly attributed to Kyuss.

    Amedi met his end when he subdued and coerced the black wyrm Tolakakabepal (toll-ak-ak-ob-eep-all: worm that rules the night) into slaying the nearby rival sorceress Sasserine. When Tolakakabepal completed this task and was released from his servitude, he returned and destroyed the lich too.
    GreySage

    Joined: Jul 26, 2010
    Posts: 2531
    From: LG Dyvers

    Send private message
    Tue Jul 07, 2020 12:54 pm  

    mtg wrote:
    SirXaris, what did you decide about Fort Blackwell's founding and history before the Scarlet Brotherhood conquered the Sea Princes?

    I'm beginning to develop this region for MC and would love to learn from you—and anyone else who's developed this region.

    My initial thoughts are that the named forts of the Hook were settled either by the proto-troglodytes or the Olman peoples of the Amedian Jungle. Then the Firstcomer Suel conquered them during the Great Migrations. These settlements devolved as the Firstcomer Suel degenerated into the "savage" Amedi Suel, and they were in turn conquered (and lost) multiple times by Suel of House Toli and House Rhola (per Samwise's articles on the subject) and their successors (i.e., explorers and settlers from the Sea Princes and Keoland).


    All of that sounds great, mtg. :)

    I added very little that wasn't given in The Savage Tide AP. Here is the jist of my additions:

    Fort Blackwell is a walled town with an extensive dock. It is ruled by the 'Captain's Council' (City Council) which meets in the 'Captain's Cabin' (City Hall). It gets its name from the fact that the revolving members are frequently retired ship captains.

    There is only a single inn within Fort Blackwell - the Sultry Siren (thanks to Mortellan), but there are several taverns. The Salty Serpent is the tavern that features in Agnosco Adventum, from Canonfire! Chronicles #001. I did not specify its size, so you can deduce its population from that information.

    I decided that Fort Blackwell was currently an independent town that had most recently been controlled by the Sea Princes. I decided that there was a Scarlet Brotherhood presence in order to disrupt any enemy or independent shipping in the area, but that it wasn't worth the effort and resources to try to conquer and control.

    Here is a link to the Canonfire! Chronicles wherein you can find this information in more detail.
    http://www.canonfire.com/cf/modules.php?name=Downloads&d_op=viewdownload&cid=19

    Quote:
    Finally, I started reviewing the description of Sasserine in Dungeon 139 and recall why I disliked it the first time I read it: instead of building carefully on preexisting Greyhawk publications, the Savage Tide AP continued the unfortunate path of the Shackled City: just plop a "large city" (per the LGG) in the Amedio Jungle without any serious effort to make it relate well to the setting. IMO, instead of creating Sasserine, Jacobs et al. should have detailed Monmurg or Port Toli.
    Smile

    I agree. But, it is what it is. In my campaign, Sasserine isn't so large. It is is more akin to Highport or Blue in the Pomarj with a more obviously rough character. Fort Blackwell is not exactly a pirate town, but it is rough due to the many independent pirates that use it as a safe haven.

    SirXaris
    _________________
    SirXaris' Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/SirXaris?ref=hl
    GreySage

    Joined: Jul 26, 2010
    Posts: 2531
    From: LG Dyvers

    Send private message
    Thu Jul 09, 2020 1:33 pm  

    I should also note that, though I did not need to make mention of it in the adventure, Fort Blackwell should be a meeting point for trappers, traders, slavers, and adventurers operating within the Amedio Jungle. Consider it a Rendezvous, as in the American West, where the French merchants would set up a large market for all the trappers to bring the furs they had collected over the course of the previous year to sell. Merchants come to Fort Blackwell via ship to buy and the trappers, local traders, and adventurers come to sell the exotic resources they have acquired from the hinterland.

    That is why the Captain's Council is made up of retired ship captains and adventurers - they are familiar with the place, decided to stay, and want to have some control over its future. This also means the fort is not totally defenseless if a foreign nation were to attempt to capture it by force.

    SirXaris
    _________________
    SirXaris' Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/SirXaris?ref=hl
    CF Admin

    Joined: Jul 28, 2001
    Posts: 500
    From: on the way to Bellport

    Send private message
    Tue Aug 11, 2020 9:10 pm  

    Here's a version of Fort Blackwell's history that I've drafted for my campaign. Besides this thread, the draft incorporates information from the following sources:

      Gary Gygax, World of Greyhawk Guide (1983)
      Gary Gygax, World of Greyhawk Glossography (1983)
      WGR2 Treasures of Greyhawk (1992).
      Sean K. Reynolds, The Scarlet Brotherhood (1999).
      Gary Holian et al., Living Greyhawk Gazetteer (2000).
      Samwise, Grand Sheldomar Timeline, Part I (Nov. 24, 2004).
      Samwise, The Rhola and the Toli: the Battle for Jeklea Bay (Sept. 18, 2005).
      Samwise, The Yaheetes and Tyrus: The Wars Against the Hand and the Eye in the Sheldomar (September 24, 2005).
      Samwise, Grand Sheldomar Timeline Expansion and Revision, Part II (Dec. 11, 2005).
      Samwise, Grand Sheldomar Timeline Expansion and Revision, Part III (Jan. 12, 2006).
      The Sea Wyvern’s Wake, in Dungeon 141 at p.29 (Dec. 2006) (Savage Tide Adventure Path).
      Agnosco Adventum, in Canonfire! Chronicles 1 at pp.61-77 (Jul. 2013) (not fully incorporated).

    A Partial History of Fort Blackwell

    Like many of the so-called “forts” along the coast of the Amedio Jungle’s “Hook,” the settlement now known as Fort Blackwell was built atop the ruins of many previous efforts to settle the area. More than a thousand years ago, Olman explorers first rounded the tip of the Hook and settled an anchorage around a lagoon. Exploring inland, they climbed a promontory and found an ancient well made of basalt from which they drew exceptionally pure water. The Olman of Tliltic Atiacuihuayan (Black Well) soon flourished, but they were unprepared for the Firstcomer Suel of House Amedi, who quickly conquered them, enslaved the survivors, and pursued their abhorrent ends.

    When the Toli Suel found the ruins of Blackwell in CY -341, the only clue to their apparent abandonment was a faded bas-relief on the well, depicting humans celebrating vile rites and transforming into serpentine monstrosities. Despite the savagery of nearby Amedi Suel and Olman tribes, the Toli Suel found Blackwell ideal to consolidate control over Jeklea Bay and fortified it as a base for jungle expeditions to obtain exotic wares, including human slaves.

    In CY 30, however, King Malv III (The Navigator) of Keoland orchestrated the systematic destruction of every Toli colony, trading mission, and slaving outpost, and Keoland soon rebuilt Fort Blackwell and used it as a supply point for exploration beyond the Olman Islands. This period ended, however, in CY 49 when Malv went missing during an expedition to the Densac Gulf, and as Keoland’s Great Slumbering began, Fort Blackwell was easy prey for the resurgent Toli Suel: without regular contact and resupply from Gradsul and lacking the protection of the Lion Throne, the Toli seized Blackwell in CY 58 and resumed its use to exploit the jungle’s resources.

    Thus, Blackwell, like many of the so-called forts of the Hook, struggled over the next two centuries, as the fief of whatever scion of the Toli could hold it. In CY 275, however, Tavish Vilchar of House Rhola became the Duke of Gradsul, and under his orders, the Rhola Suel began to contest Toli hegemony over the Hook. A decade later, in CY 285, King Gillum of House Neheli appointed Tavish Admiral of Keoland, and after the king’s death, in CY 286, the Council of Niole Dra elected Tavish I (The Great) to the Lion Throne. For the next twenty years, Keoland expanded its borders. In the south, for example, Tavish chartered the Monmurg family of House Rhola to establish a new march to push against the mainland holdings of the Toli Suel, and in CY 301, the new margrave founded the city of Monmurg. With this new base, Keoland advanced its war against the Toli Suel until CY 306, when Tavish took Port Toli by storm.

    In the following decades, Tavish the Great oversaw the development of the kingdom’s new lands and ordered more trading missions to the Hook of the Amedio Jungle. Blackwell once again became an important supply point, as Keoish ships returned to the Densac Gulf, and Tavish prepared the groundwork for the conquest of the Amedio Jungle. This dream died, however, with the king in CY 346, and Blackwell again became a backwater, as Tavish II (The Blackguard) looked north to satiate his ambition for empire.

    As years became decades, Blackwell became a favored port of free captains and smugglers. Though the Duke of Monmurg appointed Blackwell’s governor, the port town was too distant to enable the duke’s effective control, and by CY 433, the year when Luschan V of House Rhola disappeared off the coast of the Amedio Jungle, Blackwell was independent in all but law. Thus, when the free captains declared their confederacy in CY 444, under the flag of the Sea Prince, Blackwell was one of the several ports from which they raided the mainland coast and launched their conquests of Port Toli and even Monmurg, in CY 446. With control of these ports, the Sea Princes ruled Jeklea Bay, and Keoland had no hope of besting them at sea.

    Thus, in the spring chill of 453 CY, Tavish III led his ill-fated army through the tangles of the Hool Marsh and died in the so-called Siege of Westkeep. A decade, later, however, in 464 CY, the Keoish navy sank the Sea Prince at the Battle of Jetsom Island, and the Sea Princes ended their war against Keoland and turned toward the exploration, slave-trade, and mercantilism for which they were thereafter famed—until CY 584, when the Scarlet Brotherhood conquered the Sea Princes. . . .
    GreySage

    Joined: Jul 26, 2010
    Posts: 2531
    From: LG Dyvers

    Send private message
    Wed Aug 12, 2020 2:49 am  

    Great job, mtg! I like it. Smile

    SirXaris
    _________________
    SirXaris' Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/SirXaris?ref=hl
    CF Admin

    Joined: Jul 28, 2001
    Posts: 500
    From: on the way to Bellport

    Send private message
    Wed Aug 12, 2020 6:48 am  

    Thanks SirXaris. I look forward to incorporating details from your adventure.

    The more I've studied Samwise's chronologies, the more I realize that the Hook of the Amedio is too close to the Flanaess, particularly the Hold of the Sea Princes, not to have been settled (multiple times) as the proximate powers waxed, particularly Blackwell, which is at a highly strategic location.

    My next step is to create one or more local families that have resided in Blackwell for a significant period of time, including the family of Juliana Terwall, the "governess" of Fort Blackwell, per the Savage Tide Adventure Path.

    Beyond that, I may create a rough map of human and humanoid spheres of influence in the Hook, something like a mini-gazetteer, of the peoples whom the slave raiders target.
    Forum Moderator

    Joined: Sep 14, 2001
    Posts: 224


    Send private message
    Wed Aug 12, 2020 8:54 am  

    Hey MTG, if you do create a Gazetteer let us know. Under each of the half-page write-ups, i post a Reply pointing out Fan based resources. So when the Amedio jungle half-page is done, we can point to your Gazetteer as a resource for new DMs to use.
    _________________
    Richard Di Ioia (aka Longetalos)
    CF Admin

    Joined: Jul 28, 2001
    Posts: 500
    From: on the way to Bellport

    Send private message
    Wed Aug 12, 2020 5:51 pm  

    Sounds good.

    In the future, I can provide you with my notes for my Hold of the Sea Princes campaign too, so you can use them in a similar way. They feature links to numerous Canonfire! articles and forum topics.
    Forum Moderator

    Joined: Sep 14, 2001
    Posts: 224


    Send private message
    Wed Aug 12, 2020 6:02 pm  

    For sure. Just let me know.
    _________________
    Richard Di Ioia (aka Longetalos)
    Display posts from previous:   
       Canonfire Forum Index -> World of Greyhawk Discussion All times are GMT - 8 Hours
    Page 1 of 1

    Jump to:  

    You cannot post new topics in this forum
    You cannot reply to topics in this forum
    You cannot edit your posts in this forum
    You cannot delete your posts in this forum
    You cannot vote in polls in this forum


    Forums ©


    Canonfire! is a production of the Thursday Group in assocation with GREYtalk and Canonfire! Enterprises

    Contact the Webmaster.  Long Live Spidasa!


    Greyhawk Gothic Font by Darlene Pekul is used under the Creative Commons License.

    PHP-Nuke Copyright © 2005 by Francisco Burzi. This is free software, and you may redistribute it under the GPL. PHP-Nuke comes with absolutely no warranty, for details, see the license.
    Page Generation: 0.40 Seconds