There are many tunnels underneath the Tandala Highlands, and some of them are not only filled with Gob-Oc orcs or - as the Santharians use to say -  goblins. At the eastern part of the Highlands, near the Adanian Sea, there stands a door leading to a mysterious cavern: Ghun'gob. While abandoned now by sentient beings, there is still something down there that lets people's hair stand on end, though what it is exactly nobody can say for sure. Some claim that these caverns where originally made by dwarves long forgotten and then expanded by the Gob-Oc, though these mythical Ylossians mostly are rumoured to have lived in the western part of the mountains. The mines' rich history is now lost by either the battle that it once held or by the slow decay of time.

"Ghun'gob" is a name given by the goblins who lived in these tunnels until they left. It is supposed to mean "Cursed Cave" in Tharian, but the mines had many more names in the past until it became known as "cursed". Many of these names are inscribed in the walls of the long-winding tunnels and can be found on still existing doors but most of those names are now forgotten. Recently Helvíl Ypherén, an elven traveller on a mission for the Compendium, searched the nearly forgotten mines of what was left and what survived to tell about its past.

Description. The following descriptions are given by the researcher for the Compendium, Helvil Ypherén, who investigated the existence, exact location and purpose of the mines of Ghun'gob. He went on a mission in order to deliver a report on the famed mines that is as accurate as possible, providing us with details on what can be found in the caves these days and what these findings hint at. Artimidor Federkiel helped with editing and revising these findings. To sum the expedition up in Helvil's own words: "When I entered Ghun'gob I have searched most of the tunnels' rooms and passages, or at least those I could reach. Most of the rooms did not interest me aside from the fact that they belonged to the network of the mines and served certain obvious purposes. Many of those were empty, or did not contain anything exceptional nor valuable, others however triggered my curiosity. There were rooms that were still filled with goblin made objects but some of the things there did not look like goblin designs, a fact, which poses a lot of questions. - The areas of Ghun'gob that interests me the most I will try to tell you about in the following:"

Function. Some rumours exist that the mines we know nowadays as "Ghun'gob" were mostly caves that helped the orcs from the north to get to southern Sarvonia faster during the Third Sarvonian War. As such they would have been part of the network of tunnels once constructed by the Ylossian dwarves, who are now extinct. While there are clear indicators of Ylossian presence in the western Tandalas, it is much more unsure whether they actually constructed mines in the east as well. Also several major cave-ins make it impossible to verify the possibility of a once existing passage to the south below the mountains in order to confirm Ylossian links. The half-destroyed gate that exists on the southern side of the Tandala Mountains might be part of Gun'gob, but there are no firm proofs on that. Others say that the Gob-Oc initially dug parts of the tunnels themselves and connected them with already existing natural caves they found underground to form a larger system to use as their homes.

Regardless of its origins or past usage, it is undisputed that the goblins of the Tandalas recently used at least the lower tunnels of Ghun'gob for mining purposes. Whether the tunnels were intended to be solely mines remains qustionable, however. But as the mining progressed deep into the heart of the Hár mountain chain it seems that something drove the goblins away from the tunnels and from its vast mineral riches. Now the abandoned construction stands like an unpolished and partly destroyed ornament under the Tandalas. The rumour goes that no-one had the courage to venture to Ghun'gob since then for they heard the stories of the goblins and the rumours about what drove them away. The fact that the mines are difficult to find and the bleak prospect regarding treasure that could possibly be discovered there might also not have worked as an incentive to seek this place out.

As has already been mentioned Ghun'gob is also considered unusable for a shortcut through the Tandala Highlands, even though there might still exist unblocked, but rather unstable tunnels that once were used for that purpose. The supposed only southern exit (if it actually is one) is blocked and chances to get lost or become victim of a cave-in are quite high. To try such an undertaking cannot be recommended. Return to the top

Location. The mines of Ghun'gob are located at the easternmost parts of the Tandala Highlands, near the Adanian Sea. The tunnels are mainly located underneath the Hár mountains chain and the mines are said to extend to the other side of the mountain range, near the Rayne river that passes through the Tandala Highlands.

There are at least three known entrances, two of them very hard to reach (probably used merely as outposts to survey the moutains from an elevated position), and a third, which seems to have been the main entrance, tucked between some rocks in a small northern looking valley at the east side of the Hár mountains. Even when you are looking for the entrance and stand close by you might have troubles finding it, as it is well hidden - maybe unintentional though, due to rock slides that happened after the mine was abandoned. There is a supposed southern entrance as well - or let's say: There exists a crumbled entrance to a tunnel at the southern side of the Hár mountain range, which perhaps belongs to the same tunnel system. This however, cannot be determined for certain. Return to the top

Myth/Lore. Various rumours abound about the origins and the history of Ghun'gob, but little of it can be seen as confirmed. Many scholars believe that these tunnels where created by the extinct Ylossian dwarves, worshippers of the dwarven galf-god Aephesvil, a tribe, that lived in Tandalas millenia ago. Documents only prove their existence in the west of the mountains, but there are columns in Ghun'gob that clearly indicate dwarven participation. Maybe it were the Ylossians, who initially constructed these tunnels, or the goblins later had dwarven help for the one or the other reason.

Regardless of its origins, it is also a strong belief among the Erpheronians that these tunnels were used by orcs during the Third Sarvonian War to get to the south much faster, complementing the horde's trek through the western tunnels. But as is the case with these western tunnels, it is unclear how the orcs managed to get into the tunnels. If Ghun'gob really had been built by the Ylossians, then the orcs should never have been able to find the gates of the tunnels - as according to historical accounts, the Diorye'oleal dark elves who attacked and killed the Ylossian for the fabled treasure of Aephesvil, cast many spells to hide the gates. Did they spells wear off? Or did the Gob-Oc shamans have enough magical means themselves to counter the powerful barriers?

Some scholars speculate that due to all these unanswered questions Ghun'gob had once been a very well hidden extension of the main Ylossian tunnels. Its secrecy then must have kept it safe from the assault of the dark elves, but the goblins much later found the long forgotten eastern entrance. Daring theories even suggest that these tunnels once hid or may still hide the fabled treasure of Aephesvil, but adventurers are not likely to find a welcoming environment in the mines.

A few years after the Third Sarvonian War goblins started to populate this nearly forgotten mines. A record book was kept in one of the rooms that our researcher Helvil ventured in. On the first few pages, the goblins recorded their first arrival in their primitive tongue, which can be translated as follows:

"We have arrived in this forgotten mines. We found some bones which belonged to short (small) creatures [the translation here is unclear, it isn't mentioned precisely whether these bones were animal or dwarven bones]. Some of us have cleaned it up. We stay here now! Many gems and many ores here! We smith and we work! We are happy!"

-- "The Ghun'gob Book of Records"

They seemed happy when they arrived in the tunnels. But when Helvil scanned the last few readable pages of the dusty book, he was horrified by what was written:

"The beast has come! The beast has come! We are trapped. It has taken over the mines in the south, including the gate! We cannot get out! The northern doors are now guarded by traitors! We cannot get out! We cannot send any messages at all! The beast is too powerful. Our spears and shields cannot protect us anymore. We cannot get out!"

-- "The Ghun'gob Book of Records"

This is the disturbing content of the last page of the book of records. It seems that the creature that drove the goblins out was horrifying. Whatever caused the orcs to flee must have been dangerous that even the numbers of the goblins could not match it. What this last record refers to when mentioning "traitors guarding the northern doors" will probably remain a forever unanswered question.

To this day, the mines have been abandoned. Not any orc nor any man to our knowledge has ever dared enter it, except the brave Compendium researcher Helvil. But upon the dark corners of Ghun'gob there probably still lie creatures that were twisted by darkness. What are they, where did they originate? We do not know. Ghun'gob remains an enigma we will probably never be able to uncover. Return to the top

 Date of last edit 22nd Frozen Rivers 1667 a.S.

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