Grygsdraal overview

The major elements of the dwarven kingdom/city of Grygsdraal are as follows:

1. The dwarves maintain extensive grain crops and herds of feed animals in remote mountain valleys accessible only from dwarven tunnels, but open to the air. In these valleys they raise cattle, sheep, pigs, goats, barley, hops, wheat, etc. In some cases they actually partner with humans or other races to live in the valleys as herdsmen or farmers for years at a time (think of programmers who move to Saudi Arabia for five years at a premium and then return home). This is also where they get the raw materials to brew their famous dwarven ale.

2. Underground caverns are full of fungi, and underground rivers, lakes and seas provide a bounty of blind fish and invertebrates. The giant albino shrimp of the dwarves is a renowned delicacy throughout the civilized lands, and is exported as a cash crop.

3. Deep underground are mostly secret tunnels which connect to ancient passages. Most of these are firmly locked up and guarded. They are heavily trapped and dwarven mages have set many detection and alarm spells in the tunnels. Although it is rarely spoken of, the dwarves maintain trade with Drow and other underground races. Trade includes the exchange of rare gems and metals (particularly mithril) which the dwarves never have enough of, for dwarven armor, dwarven ale and other dwarven trade goods.

4. “Dark dwarves” are not unheard of either, and in many cases they provide the liaison between dwarves and other underground races.

5. Dwarven architecture blends the darkness with the light, much as dwarves themselves represent a link between two worlds. Dwarves do not live in the dark, they love the sight of light shining on, through and reflecting off of gems and precious metals far too much. For that reason the dwarven city has many great silver-coated shafts bringing sunlight deep into the city, where it is reflected and directed into many rooms. They also use magic to create light where they want it and that is just about everywhere. The great dwarven city is no dark and gloomy place, it is a place of splendor and beauty with color everywhere. Darkvision has no color, and dwarves appreciate darkvision for its utility, but they do not live in the dark.

6. The dwarven city also has great shafts which direct fresh air through the city. They have learned that they can use the differential pressures between openings to the outside world to drive fresh air through the city without the need for mechanical or magical means. They just let nature take its course. As such the dwarven city is not stuffy and smelly.

7. Water from underground rivers and lakes is pumped through the city as well, and dwarves are among the few civilized races that have running water and active sewage processing.

8. In the event of a war or a need to shut off the city, all of these outside systems can be closed. Dwarves can manage for long periods of time in conditions that would sap the strength of humans or elves. But eventually they need air and water regardless. They mostly rely on the location of their shafts, pipes and tunnels being secret to keep water, food and air flowing through the city.

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Hudbyd theology

The world of the Elania campaign is called “Hudbyd” by its inhabitants. The universe that harbors Hudbyd is one that contains actual divine beings. Here is a short summary of the theology of Hudbyd, especially in case someone is considering a theological tie in.

For all practical purposes the gods listed in the core Pathfinder rulebooks can be said to be the gods of Hudbyd. However there are some caveats. First and most important is the idea that mortal beings can become demigods through some great heroic effort or sacrifice. Once they become demigods, they can attract their own followers and gain power in the great god-game through the faith or fear of mortals. It is rumored that the dwarf, Forkovr, is one such mortal who attained demigod status. And there are, in fact, shrines and temples built to Forkovr, although the Forkovr creed is one that has a strange focus on drunken debauchery. Oh well, gods, what can you say?

There are quiet whispers among the wisest of the wise and the basest of the base that the gods are not truly the most powerful beings in the universe. Some whisper that there are elder gods which came before the gods and which will one day return. Some whisper that the gods are a charade foisted on mortals by the true gods who play some incomprehensible game using mortals as tokens and the known gods as agents to achieve their mysterious goals. Others whisper that there are no gods at all, or that the gods are merely extremely powerful practitioners of the magical arts who have mastered the secrets of immortality and whose power grows endlessly. Some who have studied deeply believe that the magical powers of the gods are a pale shadow of the power that could be invoked in the name of the true elder gods.

But most denizens of Hudbyd go through their lives comfortable that their traditions and myths are accurate and those who pray to the gods are granted boons so that is all the proof many of the devout need.

Introduction to Elania

Elania is one of the larger city-states in Hanoria. For centuries Elania was a rather sleepy rural town with minor trade of agricultural, lumber and some mining goods which mostly traveled through the main road to Three Oaks to the southeast. The main claim to fame for Elania during that period was that it was the closest reasonably sized town to the mysterious geological formation known as “Flattop” which is situated to the east of Elania. Flattop has long had a reputation for strange phenomena, unusual local flora and fauna and freakish storms. Elvish wizards, in particular, seem to be drawn to Flattop for study. The land around Flattop is arid, tortured and rumored to be haunted so there is little actually known about the area, even within Elania.

Elania itself was populated originally by humans, with some halflings, half-elves and a smattering of gnomes. During the generations of the dwarvenwyrd, before the resurrection of the dwarves, Elania also held the distinction of being the closest inhabited city to the dwarven ghost-city “Gryggsdral”. The lands around Elania have mostly been owned by remnants of feudal lords from the ancient Hanorian Empire. Lands have been handed down from father to son for generations. Of the remaining “royal” blood families, two have maintained significant power, each attempting to gain full control of the area for generations. This has led to many skirmishes and bloodshed over the years as the two families’ fortunes waxed and waned.

Roughly a century before the present time a group of great heroes discovered a secret of the Dwarvenwyrd. Led by the great elf wizard Ceorl and the monk Void, the party fought a great battle against demons and evil sorcerers to recover the last ancient burial ground of the dwarven royalty, whose bodies had been preserved by powerful magic which also hid them from the world. Ceorl raised the dwarf “Forkovr” who joined the party and struck the final blow which defeated the demon led forces. Once the demons had been banished from Hudbyd and the evil wizards killed or driven into hiding, the remaining dwarves were raised and the race of dwarves was restored.

After a few generations, a wizened Forkovr led his people back to their ancestral home, re-opening the gates of Gryggsdral. Thus Elania became the gateway to the dwarven city, and the focal point of trade between the newly revitalized dwarves and the rest of Agnara. As the dwarven race multiplied and dwarven goods and services became highly desired by the wealthy and powerful of the world, a steadily growing flood of gold and goods poured through Elania.

This precipitated a bloody civil war between the two families. This war raged for a generation, ending just a few years prior to the present day, with the Rovell forces winning a bloody and decisive victory in the very shadow of Flattop. In the few years since that decisive battle Lord Rovell quickly moved to consolidate his power and take control of the trade routes and fill his coffers with gold.

Lord Rovell publicly claimed this to be a great victory for the people of Elania. And indeed his rule seems to have begun with a generous and compassionate heart. Taking advantage of the nearby dwarven workforce, Lord Rovell has been rapidly building roads, bridges, aqueducts, public buildings, dams, etc. The resulting boom has transformed Elania from a sleepy rural town to a bustling minor metropolis. The latest public works effort Lord Rovell has funded is a large theater suitable for the presentation of the most sophisticated plays by the best actors in Agnara.

While Lord Rovell has consolidated his power effectively and is the acknowledged ruler of Elania, his enemies persist around the city. Determined to police his own city, as well as to effect peace in the surrounding lands, Lord Rovelle has chosen not to pay for Hanorian army protection as most city-states in Ariador have done for generations. Instead he has maintained and even expanded his own army which has become both the military and the local police, all under the iron hand of the man known only as “Captain Kane.” Kane is thought to have once been a high-ranking member of the Hanorian palace guard, but is now the leader of all military and police forces in and around Elania. There have even been minor skirmishes between the Rovell forces and Hanorian forces. Lord Rovell has demanded that all Hanorian forces remove themselves from Elanian land. This has resulted in Hanorian ambassadors attempting to negotiate a treaty with Lord Rovell.

This sudden militarization of the town of Elania has not escaped the notice of the elves, who wish to maintain easy access to Flattop. For that reason a contingent of elves representing Elvenholme are also involved in negotiations with Lord Rovell to ensure uninterrupted access to Flattop. Lord Rovell has also maintained strong ties with Gryggsdral and has allowed a minor enclave of dwarves to settle within Elania as equal citizens.

At the present time Captain Kane is advertising far and wide for men to join his army, navy or police forces. The Rovell palace is entertaining high-ranking members of the Hanorian and Elvish ambassadorships, as well as frequently hosting important dwarves as well. The recent completion of the theater has also brought in the most famous acting troupe in the land as they prepare a special play written in Lord Rovell’s honor.

But something is killing dwarves in and around Elania. This has created friction between Elania and Gryggsdraal. Rumors of angry words between the dwarves and Captain Kane are common. Threats have been made by the dwarves to carve a new road north through the White Mountains into the Dwonland for trade, cutting off the flow of riches into Elania. Hanorian forces continue to occupy the boundaries of Elania and as the Rovell army grows, more and more Hanorian troops are moving into the ancient forts and keeps in the area. And Rovell’s own ancient enemies may have been beaten down, but they have not been entirely defeated.

And Flattop has begun to stir. Rumors of powerful monsters roaming the night are getting closer and closer to Elania. Orcs, hobgoblins, goblins and other wild folk have been spotted in growing numbers to the east and south. Rumors persist that the evil races are preparing for a sack of Elania to steal her riches. And strange apparitions have appeared in the form of holy men of many races, each preaching of the return of “The One” amid predictions of fire in the sky and the “Day of two suns”.

3Oaks #22: Chthul Who? Is that a trademark violation?

Real-world date: October 18, 2007
Hanorian date: StockTend 22th

Moon phase: 7 days past Full.
Season: Late summer
Weather: Rain, cooling temps.

The session began with the group again needing to rest and recover after their battle with the spellthief, warlock and goblins. The group made their way back to the room where they had encountered the bureaucrat. There they posted watch while the sleeping members of the group snoozed away in the back room.
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3Oaks #21: How’s a girl like you get to be a warlock like that?

Real-world date: October 4, 2007
Hanorian date: StockTend 21th

Moon phase: 6 days past Full.
Season: Late summer
Weather: Rain, cooling temps.

When the session began the group had just finished healing up from their (undocumented) encounter with goblins, hobgoblins and bugbears. After healing the group decided they had not used up too much of their powers to continue on, and so they began to move forward to see if they could locate and rescue Belvin’s brother Jorje.
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3Oaks #19: Goblins, hobgoblins and bugbears oh my!

Real-world date: sometime in the summer, 2007
Hanorian date: StockTend 21th

Moon phase: 6 days past Full.
Season: Late summer
Weather: Rain, cooling temps.

What a mess… I have not updated these files for months due to a combination of too much going on in my “real” life and too few playing opportunities (twice since June and it is now October).
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3Oaks #18: Down the goblin hole

Real-world date: June 21, 2007
Hanorian date: StockTend 20th

Moon phase: 6 days past Full.
Season: Late summer
Weather: Dry, windy and hot.

The party had been fighting two goblins in a small room at the end of some twisty passages in the newly discovered goblin lair when after killing one, the other turned and fled. Entering the room the party discovered another door, which was now locked. They discussed strategy and then decided to open the door and pursue the fleeing goblin.
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