In the year 1146 reports began to trickle into the March about strange occurrences in the northern wilderness. The residents of Twin Rivers were becoming nervous about increased animal attacks and several hunting parties that vanished without a trace. In the summer of that year a strange mist settled upon the forest and within a few weeks the trees and other vegetation began to look sickly. Molds and fungus began to grow and the wildlife became increasingly scarce. In the autumn of that year a unit of Ravenguard were sent to investigate along with a group of clerics and magic users. They entered the forest and were never heard from again.
Between the years 1146 and 1152 hundreds of refugees from the area known as the Shadowgate Forest began to appear in Ravenmarch. At first these people told tales of poisoned wells and foul water supplies, poor hunting and crop failure. Even the elves who called the forest home for thousands of years began to abandon it. As the years went buy the reports became more astounding. Dark creatures lurking in the woods the undead and evil spirits attacking travelers who were caught outdoors after dusk. The Ravenguard established several small outposts along the wood line to keep a watchful eye on the happenings of Shadowgate Forest.
In the year 1152 before the first snowfall a band of gypsies appeared in Twin Rivers. They were dressed oddly and spoke in a broken form of common that was difficult to understand. Calling themselves the Vistani they reported that they had been lost in the forest for several weeks and it was only by luck that they found an old hunting trail that led them to Twin Rivers. Authorities in Ravenwatch were notified and a party was immediately dispatched to questioned the Vistani and investigate their claims.
The gypsies claimed that they were traveling from a small kingdom known as Barovia, which was unknown to any of the sages who questioned them. During their journey they claim to have found a massive tower made of ebony black stone and volcanic glass in the middle of the forest. According to their leader, they feared entering the tower but it appeared to be abandon and looked as if it was incredibly old. In addition to this the gypsies also reported several run ins with malevolent spirits and ghosts while traveling in the woods.
In the spring of 1153 after the last snowfall of the year a unit of Ravenguard departed from Twin Rivers to investigate the Vistani claims regarding the undead as well as the tower in the forest. For several days the party remained in contact with Twin Rivers by way of message runners. However after eight days the party was lost and never heard from again. Several more attempts would be made to discover the cause of the evil that had befell the Shadowgate Forest. All of them ending in failure. Finally in 1155 a royal decree was made claiming the Shadowgate Forest unsafe for travel. This decree did not go so far as to forbid entry into the forest however it was made clear that those who do go into the woods do so at their own risk.
Since that time only a handful of adventurers have ever braved the Shadowgate Forest. A number of them have been reported lost or killed. On rare occasions however a party will return with frighting stories about undead monsters and horrific creatures lurking in the dark mists. Several years ago a party made claims that it had found the tower in the middle of the forest and even entered it. However there are few people living along the boarder of the forest who believe these stories.
Remarkably the Vistani still make occasional visits to Twin Rivers or one of the other small settlements along the Shadowgate Forest boarder. They seem to have little or no fear of the forest and even offer to let adventures travel with them safely through the woods (for a fee of course.) but they are rarely taken up on these offers.