View Full Version : Like Dwarves?

2008-08-07, 06:41 AM
I typed all this up for an all dwarf PbP, and I thought I would put it here, so that people could use it/comment on it/etc. So if you have any questions, just ask. It fits pretty solidly in as a regular old dwarven city, but maybe the history and other ideas will spark something for your own campaign.

Delgak, The Steel Homeland

Here it is: the primary bastion of defense into or out of the Dwarven homelands. Any other settlement is nearly unreachable, tucked away underground or deep into the Mithrilspine Mountains. The mountains range to the east, and hilly fields range to the west, containing a human tribes and one dwarf settlement as a dim point of light within a growing outer darkness.

Very Rough History

The history is that roughly a thousand years ago, there was a great war caused by the corruption of one of the bigger clans, the Duergar. After the Duergar, the Dungold and Goblin clans fell (along with several minor ones). They used the populace Goblin and tactical Dungold to begin winning the war, taking on the fledgling human nations above ground as well. Delgak was formed when Ogar and Helga (a married couple of generals) abandoned their own homeland to strike at a chokepoint between the two forces, as enslaved humans and overland supplies were bolstering the underground Duergar. They succeeded, and that chokepoint became Delgak.

The Dungold and Goblin were left on the surface. The Dungold began hiring out in mercenary bands, or as artillerists or advisers. The Goblin, being horribly maimed and disfigured by various alchemical experiments they performed on themselves during the war, retreated to various dark parts of the world to plot in gaining more power. The Duergar retreated to The Depths, leaving many of their magical, devilish creations behind.

Called "Smokey Mountain" by outsiders, Delgak's summit is surrounded by a haze of smoke which is vented from the forges below. As a traveler approaches the mountain, he will notice a thick, well-made stone wall jutting from the side of the mountain with a thin, winding road leading up to it. (And now a brief summary of about 15 pages of work, 10 of which have been stolen:) There are 4 main districts to the mountain, each one a different level, and each with massive stone pillars and buttresses holding up the floor above it.

Visitor's District: This is where almost all non-dwarves in the city live. Even if their families have lived here for a few generations, it's inhabitants are still visitor's by dwarven standards. This place mostly caters to those who are rich enough to enter the city to be trained in Dwarven jewelcrafting and smithing. It suffers a hint of the smoke that is not vented from the forge district below, making it unpleasant to most who have no reason to be here.

Forge District: Placed below the visitor's district is the King's Forge, at which Greatfather Azerl II works nearly all day unless interrupted by an important meeting. His forge is near the Pillar of the Oath, which is taken by all members of the Delrin Clan. Each of the four major clans also have their own private forges, at which their best smiths work.

Residential District: The bulk of Delgak's population lives here. The first room is just an incredibly large cube with a door on each side. The doors to each branch are different, and visitor's not of that specific clan are rarely welcome behind those walls. The Delrin's door is a large one made of steel, half of the Oath of Steel is carved into each door, and it becomes complete when both are shut. The Dormli's door is stone carved into a massive dragon breathing a fork of lightning from it's mouth. Two smaller doors: those of the Beldrin and Eremora clans stand to the side. The Beldrin's is merely a simple, sturdy set of stone doors. While the Eremora's thick wooden doors are overgrown with roots.

Main District: The lowest district contains the residences of the Vonir (or Tunnel Givers) and the Mosgrim (the Clanless), along with the business district, the temple to The Allfather, Moradin (called Jorael by the Humans), the dwarven tombs, and the Great Wall.
Clans (In order of population in city, note you can be any class with any clan. But I just added some suggestions. Being part of the Delrin will require swearing the oath. I need to see the books before I decide if this is a feat or a "code of conduct" with benefits.)

Delrin: The Delrin are hard workers, and diligent defenders. They have sworn an Oath of Steel to never allow Delgak, an important chokepoint into and out of the mountains, fall until the last Delrin has gone to meet The Maker. (Preferred classes: Fighter, Paladin, Cleric, Warlord. Preferred Weapons: one-handed axes/hammers and shields. Preferred Alignment: Lawful Good.)

Founded the city around 1000 years ago, after Ogar Delrin and his wife Helga (two generals in the Iron Wars) cut off the dark dwarf forces, leaving those in the mountain unable to get supplies from those who had begun raiding the surface, winning the war. But Ogar and Helga had to make a huge sacrifice. They left their city undefended, and it was taken by giants in league with the dark dwarves. It has never been recaptured, and is now considered part of the Lost Depths. When Ogar's sons, Helmut and Erik were of age, he decided to have them take an oath to ensure that the city would remain defended as a bastion to keep enemies out of the Mithrilspine Mountains and to keep whatever may still be there in. Erik, being a free spirit, had forgotten the day the oath was supposed to take place and wandered off. When he came back, his father was furious and exiled him and those of his friends he had taken with him. Helmut swore the oath and years later, found his brother and group wandering into the caves. He welcomed them back into Delgak, but Erik still refused to take the oath. He formed his own clan.

Dormli: The Dormli are much less disciplined than the Delrin, but they are strong and passionate in their tasks, making them nearly as reliable as their old cousins. They never swore the Oath due to an ancient prophecy passed down to Erik those many years ago, saying that someday, the dwarves may have to be more flexible in their ways. No one knows what Erik did with his 100 years in the Lost Depths, but many of the Dormli have a certain metallic sheen to their beards and develop very odd traits and powers. (Preferred Classes: Fighter, Ranger, Cleric, Wizard. Preferred weapons: 2-handed ****, lighter armor. Preferred Alignment: Good.)

Beldrin: Meaning "First Dwarves," the Beldrin are the most populous clan of their kind, so they are bound to show up in nearly any dwarven settlement. They have always been more at home in bureaucracy that on the battlefield. They are expert craftsmen and practioners of the arts. (Preferred Classes: Warlord, Rogue, Wizard, Warlock. Preferred weapons: things one can easily carry and wield in public places. Preferred Alignment: Lawful Good.)

Eremora: Not a very populace clan, but they can be found anywhere a Dwarven settlement touches the outside air, or underground water. The Eremora are a clan who feel a special connection to the natural world and it's elements. They desire to help their fellows by increasing agricultural production, and so spend a lot of time growing crops and raising livestock. Mushrooms and badgers are their main commodities. They are a fairly secretive clan, and probably will be so until Druid becomes a playable class... (Preferred classes?: This clan is a bit obsolete without druid as a class, but a nature oriented Cleric or Ranger could work. Preferred Alignment: Good.)

Vonir: The Tunnel Givers are, like the Beldrin, a populace clan. One that is much needed, but goes under-appreciated by many Dwarven settlements. They are more fluid than most clans, and have a bit of a wanderlust in them, which causes them to explore new areas. They provide much needed underground tacticians, trapsmiths, tunnelrats, and miners. (Preferred Classes: duh...Rogue, Ranger. Also, Warlord of the intelligent variety. Preferred weapons: One-handed light stuff, more easy to wield in tunnels. Preferred Alignment: Unaligned. They also tend to learn a lot of utility rituals to help them in their various quests.)

Mosgrim: This is just the name for clanless dwarves. Could be anything from an exile from another city to a small family whose clan was destroyed a long time ago, and they just started mingling with the clanless. (Preferred any: Any.)

I'm using my old pantheon, but chopping gods, because I had one for each alignment and that feels dumb. So I'm going back to my two sets (kind of like Greek), the first set created the materials of the world, and the second set created sentience (morality and motivation). And then there are saint-like demi-gods to cover the small stuff. For Delgak, you only need to know two: Moradin and Valkauna. Moradin is the Creator God. Or he was the reasonable one among his siblings. His clerics usually start their prayers with a craft metaphor, "Moradin, forge me into your blade, that I may smite your enemies." People who enjoy society, community, and protection follow him. Valkauna is a demi-goddess, depicted as an old dwarf woman who hammers the names of every fallen dwarf into an endless stone wall. Her clerics and bards(yes, I know this isn't a class yet) list the names of the dead and their deeds to inspire fellows. Some of the more pessimistic ones list wrongs done by certain enemies in order to have the same effect. People who respect the dead and despise undeath follow her.

And some people also like Erna. Erna's Falls is a location nearby, on the border of the Lost Depths. Before Delgak was ever founded, Erna was a dwarven mother taking a group of children to safety. They were attacked by two large creatures, and she wrestled them, and all three went over the edge together. The children made it to safety. So Erna is sometimes invoked for protection or motherhood. It is said that both Ogar and Helmut went to the Falls once each year to shed a single tear, Ogar on the anniversary of the fall of his homeland, and Helmut on the anniversary of the exile of his brother (and therefore the first taking of the Oath).

Bad Guys: Ladugeur is the name the Dwarves give The Dismantler. Ladugeur is one of the gods of creation (morality and motivation) who appreciates power above all else. It was his agent that caused the Duergar to fall, starting the Iron Wars.
Areas of Note

Delgak has seen little trouble from its neighbors in very recent times (this generation), but many nearby places require constant vigil.

Erna's Falls: To the southeast lie Delgak's many mines, and a matronly statue overseeing a beautiful waterfall which feeds the main river of Delgak. Though this used to guard the primary traderoute between Delgak and Greatfather Ogar's former homeland (now commonly known as Ogar's Regret), the underground road has fallen into massive disrepair, and so is little used. Occasionally, Erna's Falls must be purged of creatures which attempt to stake a claim to Delgak's primary water source, and the statue itself is upkept once a year by members of the clan. Beyond the Falls lies the path to The Depths, something no dwarf other than a spare Dormli here and there has tread since Delgak's founding. A small outpost exists after the mines, but well before Erna's Falls where the area opens up to the outside before plunging back into the depths.

The Gold Hills: To the west lie "The Gold Hills." The name, a bastardization of the name left behind by the first dwarf clan to break to the surface during the Iron Wars, has attracted many people from their civilized homes to their dooms. Humanoid tribes only survive here as nomads, because to set down a permanent settlement means to attract the ire of Ladugeur's children, or the various monsters left behind by the Duergar in their retreat to The Depths. Still, there is a single Dungold city on its outskirts, filled with disreputable dwarves, to provide a home to their mercenary brethren and a refuge where unwary gold hunters can be fleeced of what little they brought with them.

The Warrens: To the north, bordering the Gold Hills and the Mithrilspine Mountains, the Goblin have taken up residence en masse. Any attempts to eradicate this plague on the other sentient species has met with failure due to their fast rate of breeding, impossible to find dens, and unpredictable cunning. Though proper dwarves will have nothing to do with them, the Dungold, wandering tribes, and northern human nations have realized that the Goblin have a lot to offer as hired hands, hunters, and other manner of things. The Goblin also trade both their captives and their fellows as slaves if it benefits them. Due to a lack of organization and distrust of each other, they pose no real threat to civilizations as a whole, but every so often, a chieftain known as a Grand Hob will unite them and wreak havoc. (note: hobgoblins and bugbears don't exist)

The Highfather's Road To the northeast lies the underground path to the remainder of Dwarven civilization. It is perhaps the only safe point left in Delgak's region, and is a primary concern to its guard. The architecture of this road is of the finest dwarven make, and it allowed Ogar and Helga's forces to help supply the dwarven lines once they had cut the Duergar forces in two. It is almost holy in nature, and pilgrims often come to Delgak to provide thanks. The Road passes many Dwarven cities (some of them still ruins), and ends in the original capital of the dwarven empire, which is now just another city-state. Still, The Highfather keeps court there and there resides the primary seat of the church of Moradin. (i have to find it's name in my notes)
So there it is. I need to type up some NPCs and what-not. But this city was created in 3.5 and will be used for 4.0, so I'll might talk about archetypes instead of actual classes.