Bloodstone Mines

The famed Bloodstone Mines beneath the Snowcrown Mountains have long been the subject of tales of bravery, adventure, terror and death.

Bloodstones; also known in dwarvish as "Nithrak-Tir," are very rare and valuable gems, first mined by the dwarves of Corwyn and marketed throughout the known realms. The largest deposits of these gems were found in the Dwarven mines below Kronar in the Salakrün Mountains. The Dwarvish city of Krone Feyr was literally built with the wealth generated from these stones. The stones are quite rare and quite valuable today. The mines and various underground passages led to other civilizations as well; most notably the caverns of "Deepearth."


Long ago, a svirneblin city occupied a giant cavern deep beneath the bloodstone mines. As long as the humans and dwarves confined their mining to the area near the surface, all was peaceful. The svirfneblin mined much deeper in the earth and had a rich and sophisticated culture. But the Deep-Gnomes, too, had their enemies. The neighboring duergar, who lived desperate and squalid lives in the network of caverns that led up to the svirfneblin kingdom.

The duergar greatly envied the gnomes their wealth and comfort. For many years, they preyed upon the deep-gnomes in a series of lightning raids, carrying off food, livestock, and occasionally slaves. The svirfneblin sent military expeditions against the duergar with great success, but soon the duergar returned, skulking in the darkness, to take their toll once again. Then one night, a duergar crept into the svirfneblin realm to steal food and perhaps murder a few gnomes. Sneaking through an infrequently used tunnel, he found an open mine shaft. Curious, he crawled inside, hoping to find gold or precious gems. Instead he found a pool of mercury, glistening coldly. He felt a strange eerie calling from the pool, a sense of implacable evil that thrilled him. He stretched out his hand and touched the surface of the pool. A blinding flare of blue-white light erupted; the column of light poured out of the mine shaft, casting its baleful light into every corner of the svirfneblin realm.

The duergar was transformed into an avatar of Orcus; a creature of transcendent horror. Huge, glowing, with goat’s horns protruding from its head, the abomination strode out of the mines. As the terrified svirfneblin came out of their caves, bolts of fire from the creature’s eyes destroyed them. Their homes were crushed and their great city destroyed in a single night of horror. A few stragglers escaped into the dark tunnels and catacombs. The creature then entered the lower bloodstone mine shafts, destroying all who worked there, and leaving a taint of permanent evil. Then it dissipated, leaving only death and destruction in its aftermath. Only the strange pool of mercury remained, glowing with an evil blue light.

The duergar were quick to exploit the destruction of the svirfneblin, and a quick military assault drove the gnomish king Ruggedo, and his few survivng folk out. The Grey-dwarves then took the city for their own. Clerics of the duergar found the glowing pool, studies it, and eventually learned its deadly secret: it was a gate to the lower planes of Hell, and through it the realm of Orcus; Prince of the Undead. To protect and honor their benefactor, the duergar built a huge temple to Orcus in an adjoining cavern, with the pool of mercury at its center chamber. Guards, wards, and deadly traps were built to keep anyone from penetrating its secret. Over the centuries, agents of Orcus that lurk about the Prime Material Plane, and other dark and sinister figures have come in secret to this temple of ultimate evil to pay their dark respects.

Meanwhile, The svirfneblin, now a shattered remnant of their former glory, live in exile. The exiled gnomes are led by King Ruggedo, who hopes his people will one day reclaim their home.


Long ago, the Bloodstone Mines were the source of the fabulous wealth of the dwarven-realm of Kronar and its great city of Krone Feyr. When the dwarven civilization was destroyed in 1079/4, many of the passages to the lower mines were blocked by the dwarves in their defense against the orc-invaders. However, many miles to the east, passages to the upper mines are still accessible.

Today, the most well-known entrance to the upper mines is in the Ansilay Valley. Although a tiny fraction of the bloodstones once carved from the lost dwarven mines, these upper passages are a still great source of wealth to the Freehold of Trevalia. Today, several hundred human and dwarven miners still toil in the upper mines, including several members of the lost Durthas Clan of Kronar; however, the mining operations are small in scale compared to the vast mining operations of the ancient dwarves.