Wednesday, 22 February 2012

The Grulven Mountains

The Grulven Mountains are a range of subarctic peaks just to the south east of the Walrus Freehold. The Grulven Mountains were previously the heart of a dwarven kingdom of Urrugorn. However, it collapsed before the rise of the Toutus Empire, about 430BY. The surviving dwarves retreated from the centre of the range to the edges, where there are some outposts and settlements of dwarves, slowly trying to reclaim their heritage. 

There are quite a few giants, including hill, stone, frost and fire, plus some ettins and cyclopses. These giants contributed to the fall of Urrugorn. Some of these giants have gathered into significant tribes, particularly the hill and frost giants. Any DM looking to place the modules G1-2-3: Against the Giants in Kaelaross could do worse than have them here, threatening the cities  and farmlands of the Walrus Freehold.  

But more damaging was the war of attrition between the dwarves and tribes of goblins and orcs of the Underworld. The goblins seemed to be in charge, with the orcs as auxiliaries and mercenaries. There are some goblin tribes that actively seek out and try to kill as many dwarves as possible - for some the war of attrition is not over. Although they would like to take back what is theirs, for many dwarves the emphasis is on defence and safety. The goblin tribes under the Grulven Mountains are known for their military organisation as well as their particularly dangerous warrior-chiefs and shamans who often rival heroes in prowess. 

The Grulven mountains are dotted with ruins of dwarven strongholds and towns. Some of these still have the descendants of the orc and goblin invaders while others are devoid of living humanoids (though not necessarily free from danger). 
As well as lots of silver, gold and gems, some notable artefacts of the dwarves were lost in Urrugorn, inlcuding the legendary Axe of the Dwarven Lords, and the Forge of Fate, a whole blacksmith's workshop that can enhance the potency of any weapon or armour made or mended there. 

Blackbeard Clan (population 1,500): Although generally decent and upright dwarves, there is an ongoing problem with a cult of chaotic dwarves. Any dwarves proven to be part of the chaos cult (not just chaotic in alignment) are liable to banishment, or execution if further crimes are linked to the offender. This is not as effective as it might sound as banished or fugitive chaotic dwarves are directed to Ironheart Keep, a formerly abandoned stronghold now taken over by chaotic dwarf cultists. The Blackbeard Clan is also quite isolated - there are some trade caravans that travel to and from Hurin Castle, but this is quite a trek through monster-haunted wilderness. Interestingly the Blackbeard Clan has had some friendly contact with the Orchunter Clan of elves, mostly with trade but occasionally some military cooperation, though the traditional tension between dwarves and elves has not completely disappeared. 

Trollslayer Clan (population 1,700): This clan provides mercenary dwarf warriors for Stalim. With its closeness to Stalim it is the most open-minded and also prosperous of the three main clans. The warriors of the Trollslayer clan can be quite ferocious against giants, though rumours of them being utterly fearless, bare-chested, adorned with tattoos and sporting orange mohican hairdos are probably an exaggeration. 

Hearthkeeper Clan (population 2000): Although the most populous of the three clans, the Hearthkeeper clan is also the most under attack, both from giants and also orcs and goblins. The leaders of the clan are certain that there is some sort of malign intelligence sending these attacks, but no-one can be certain who is the evil mastermind. As it is even more isolated than the Blackbeard Clan, the Hearthkeeper Clan is in quite a vulnerable situation. 

Bloodberyl Mine is a famous mine that had been in the hands of dwarves until quite recently. Around the same time as the Summoning the mine was overrun with orcs, goblins and other chaotic humanoids, and the dwarves simply don't have the numbers to reclaim it. 

Random Encounters:
Roll 1d12+1d8  Results
2 Cloud Giant
3 Fire Giant
4 Frost Giant
5 Troll
6 Hill Giant
7 Giant Hawk
8 Ogre
9 Wild Yak (4 HD herd animal)
10 Mountain Goat (2 HD herd animal)
11 Mountain Lion
12 Black Bear
13 Wolf
14 Goblin
15 Orc
16 Wyvern
17 Giant Eagle
18 Ettin or Cyclops
19 White Dragon
20 Red Dragon

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