The Howl of Vengeance was a conflict fought in the Utter East during the time of the Bloodforge Wars (648–657 DR), waged between those who'd conquered the kingdom of Doegan and those who sought to liberate it. Notably, it was fought with basal golems mass-produced by bloodforges.[note 1][note 2]
The bloodforges were discovered in the Year of the Dancing Daggers, 648 DR. These ancient devices of war could mass-produce entire armies of golems, eliminating overnight the cost of mustering and maintaining armed forces. Unrestrained, the Five Kingdoms of the Utter East each manufactured great golem armies and marched them against one another, bursting into the Bloodforge Wars.
The kingdom of Doegan was overrun by invaders led by Rathgar the Raider, who laid siege to the capital and plundered the realm of its bounty. Coming for the crown itself, he confronted the king and princess in their own throne room, but the defiant king cursed him with his dying breath, declaring "For so long as you rule, a curse upon you. The dead will arise, to ensure your demise."
Escaping the invaders, the princess looked for a way to make her father's prophecy come true. She went to Old Stone Keep and there met Aelric, a mage of Doegan. He vowed to aid her and, furthermore, fulfill her father's curse to take vengeance on those who'd occupied his homeland.
Meanwhile, months passed and Rathgar paid no heed to the curse, until a captured criminal, a graverobber called Grubkern, whispered of a gathering army of undead coming to rid Doegan of the invaders. As fear spread in the capital, Rathgar determined to investigate.[note 3]
- Rathgar the Raider
- Rathgar investigated just in time, finding an undead horde almost at his doorstep. Fighting in and around the capital, they repelled the invaders and burned their crypts. Rathgar pardoned Grubkern, and Grubkern revealed the name of the leader of the undead: Aelric the Avenger.
- Rathgar and his army pursued Aelric to the Serpent Valley, where he rallied his undead forces. Rathgar overcame them in bloodforge battle, forcing them to retreat once more.
- Aelric's army holed up in Old Stone Keep. Resolute, both rulers prepared for a final battle. Ultimately, Rathgar defeated Aelric, putting an end to the old king's curse. He returned victorious to the capital and the throne, settling his clansmen in Doegan, where they prospered and lived without fear of reprisal.
- Aelric the Avenger
- When Rathgar's forces pursued the princess to Old Stone Keep, Aelric protected her and struck back against them in a bloodforge battle, favoring undead creatures. Victorious, Aelric scattered Rathgar's own bloodforged forces.
- In disarray and dread, Rathgar and his army retreated into the Serpent Valley. Aelric pursued, exploiting the chaos to once again strike at his foe.
- Ultimately, Rathgar's army fled to Doegan's capital with Aelric's horde hot on his heels. They crashed through the city gates and walls and fought the invaders in the streets, with steel and fire and magic. Thus did Aelric the Avenger fulfil the old king's curse and liberate Doegan. The princess became queen, with Aelric at her side, and brought peace to Doegan.
The armies on both sides of the conflict were almost entirely basal golems, mass-produced using bloodforges and transformed into specific units as required. In general, Aelric preferred Crypt-transformed units, with undead zombies, ghouls, and wraiths, as well as gargoyles; while Rathgar favored Barracks- and Runestone-transformed units, fielding warriors and rangers, wizards, and stone golems.
- The name of this conflict is taken from the name of the campaign in the Blood & Magic game; it was not used in in-universe text.
- The events of Blood & Magic are only dated to "before the Time of Troubles" (1358 DR) in game. It is assumed these are a part of the Bloodforge Wars described in Faces of Deception and dated in The Grand History of the Realms.
- In the Blood & Magic game, two alternate campaigns are provided, one for Aelric and one for Rathgar. These may be mutually exclusive, but it is possible one follows the other or they may be merged as a single back-and-forth conflict. An official history is unknown.