Mountain City is the furthest point west in Liaha. The city is connected to Dwarfgate via a vast underground tunnel. Above ground paths do exist, but they are far narrower, not patrolled, and far more dangerous.
Mountain City is built into the walls and tunnels of the mountains. (The mountains are known as a couple of different names, mostly though as the Kitra Claws, or as the Dwarvin Knives).
Mountain City was founded by Dwarvin tribes in ages past. It was founded ages ago, well before the Sundering. It started with a small group of Dwarves that found gold in the mountains. Eventually connecting the Kitra Plains and the coast was just a nice side benefit.
But how does one continue to mine the same areas for over 2000 years? Is it better technology, magic, divine will, or one of the few benefits of the Sundering? Even the dwarves are not completely sure, but the mines have continued to produce a steady amount of ore.
Over time the city’s focus expanded beyond just a mining town, and now stands as a great road and trading center as well as the home of near legendary craftsmen.
Geography and layout
Mountain City is a city that is hidden in the stone. Reaching the city requires traveling up a road into the mountain. Literally into the mountain. Much of the city is never seen by human or kitran eyes as these areas are far afield from the center of the city, and reserved for the clan or clans that own it.
Very little of the city is on the surface, and what little that is is right in front of the entrance, and above the rest of the city.
The city has been built, organized, and reorganized several times in its history. It is currently in its 4th rebuilding.
The city is well organized since it was replanned a few hundred years back. The roadway leading into town was widened and strengthened. Over time Dwarves have filled in the road and many shops and services line the road approaching town.
Temples and Districts
The city is in several districts.
The main road has been developed and expanded over time to create branches that extend into the mountain and on different levels. These roads are the basis for the population of the outer city.
This part of the city is the most diverse, and the widest variety of foods, religions can be found. Temples to the following can be found:
Bast – The temple has a pretty difficult approach and has a climb to reach the main temple.
Artemir – Supposedly.
Bastel – Supposedly.
Shrines of many others can be found, from some of the better known to the lesser known. They include:
Dowskil – That has been found, and demolished repeatedly.
The entry to the city is a warren. It nearly labyrinthian, and easily confusing. It changes levels, and twists and turns repeatedly. It does not deter a single dwarf that resides within. City streets are not named or marked in the least, and often the streets are built to look similar.
A raised road does rise above the warrens and is wide enough for substantial traffic. It is built on a set of pedestals. The skyway serves several functions; it serves as a quick way to transport goods without bogging them down traveling through the Warrens, it serves as a defensible position, and has a few drawbridges that are part of the construction, it serves as a last line of defense as it can be collapsed to rain debris upon an invading force, and force them to travel through the Warrens.
The Skyway that rises above the Warrens and connects to the main tunnel is a turnpike.
Beyond the Warrens is another gated section of town. Behind the stout, and defended walls are the heart of the city that remains outside the walls.
Inside the Warrens it is said that temples to the following may be found;
Valkyr – Rumors & Lies! Lies!
Uster – a temple has been openly established.
Unlike most other cities, Mountain City does not have a large agricultural base outside the city. The dangers to farming and animals have made foodstuffs, animals, and fresh water a valuable and protected commodity. The inner city is a series of terraces that are cut into the mountain that make up the food, farming, and water needs of the city. The Skyway continues overhead, but with a few points where goods can be either be brought up, or down.
There are a few places for lodging and food in this section of town, but it is not the center of commerce that is the Warrens or the Inner City. Though the shops that do sell food here have the freshest food in the entire city! It is an area where things are grown and produced.
Inside the Second Gate temples to the following may be found;
Vanir & Freya
Viska – Or so it is said. The entrance is rumored to be near a small grove of trees, but no entrance has ever been revealed.
The Inner City is behind another wall and guarded gate. The Skyway terminates into the mountain in this district. The Inner City is the heart of the wealthy districts and some lesser noble Dwarvin families reside in this area. It is the heart of where the other races wish to reside, and hosts the wealthiest among them.
It is a part of town filled with commerce. Walking along it is easy to find food, lodging, wares, and services. Ramps to the Skyway are available with greater frequency, and much of the commerce is concentrated near these ramps. Blacksmiths work below its stone overhand providing shoeing services for horses, replacement bits of tack and tackle, and even weapons. Walking further away from the Skyway is more gardens, commons, and residential sections of town.
The prominent surface entrances to Undermountain exist here. Smelting, and Smithing areas are prominent in this area, and have their own terrace slightly below the main living areas.
The entrance to the Undermountain and the Skyway are purposely kept apart, as is the Great Dwarvin Tunnel that links Mountain City to Dwarfgate. Other internal entrances to Undermountain exist, but they are far smaller.
Temples to the following can be found within the Inner City;
Forge – A decent, but not overly large building that concentrates as much on making as chronicling. The temple is headed by Vesk Brikal (Brokenpick).
Selene – A small attended shrine.
Within the mountain is the wealth and pride of Mountain City. Large Dwarvin made caverns, an internal keep, mines, smelters, and a self enclosed city all are part of the internal part of the mountain.
Access to the interior of the mountain is socially restricted. No known laws keep outsiders out, but a social stigma lets outsiders know this is a place of the Dwarves for the Dwarves. Within it has its own structures, levels, and services.
It is said to be similar in nature to the outside layout. A main unobstructed path that leads to the keep that is easily defensible, and with a section of warrens followed by an area where foodstuffs can be cultivated, then with a section of Dwarvish nobility and upper end commerce that ends up at the Keep.
The politics of Mountain City were once stable and subject of little debate. Led by Thoran Ovdek (Thoran Oakenshield to outsiders) it was prosperous, resisted any incursions with ease, and was reasonably well run.
The Advent (as it is being called by the nobility in town) has seen a large number of the population flee, has closed the Great Dwarvin Tunnel, mines have been shut down due to collapse and talk of OTHER dangers lurking below.
Add in raids from goblinoids, and the overland road to Dwarfgate apparently has dragons, bandits, and other monsters that now claim it, has made the city a tenuous place to be.
Thoran Ovdek’s hair is said to have changed from a legendary black, to streaked with a steel grey as he struggles with his clan, his guards to hold together the city, and to halt any evils that may assail his city from spreading into the lands beyond.
The council has called for his resignation, and has gone as far to demand it with a force of arms. The councilors who stood forth with axe and shield have been dealt with harshly. Many were imprisoned, some executed, and some of the minor actors involved have been shorn. They are not allowed to regrow their beards until they can regain their honor.
Located in the Outer City are the following taverns:
The Wildflower – Run by an old Kitra.
The Tail & Claw – Run by a Kitra. 3 Story tavern with an open area in the middle. Using stairs is seen as somewhat optional.
The Blue Post – A Simple, cheap, and comfortable Inn & Tavern. Good luck finding a room, they’re nearly always full up.
The Weighted Scales – Run by a couple. The husband still swears he’s been repeatedly cheated by the Dwarves, and his tavern was named in protest.
Located in the Warrens are the following taverns:
The Mad Hatter – run by a man former of Valor. He compares who laid out the Warrens as crazy as a Mad Hatter!
Lucky Jack’s – Run by Jack.
Ale, Beer, & Stronger Stuff – Run by a pretty straightforward dwarf.
Located in the 2nd Gate are the following taverns:
The Pasture. Overlooks/is part of a larger farm. Freshest food in the city! 4 different types of Dwarvish bread!
The Cartwright – It is what it says. A place to buy/repair wagons. While you wait! Plus they serve food and drink.
Iron & Biscuits – A place where some of the local smiths come to get food and drink.
The Clay Platter – Always seems to have fresh meat and cold ale available. And never tells anyone how that’s possible.
The Nimble Narwhal – The proprietress was a sailor/privateer from Laiha and the walls are decorated with murals of fantastical sea creatures and decorative antique world maps. (Here there be dragons) The proprietress’s husband also makes an excellent cherry ale. This inn tends to attract travelers from far flung locations.
Located in the Inner City are the following taverns:
Cheers – Where everyone knows your name. Say Hi to Norm!
The Misplaced Mermaid – Known to have some of the most varied wines and ales in town.
The Green Dragon Tavern – Currently shuttered, as the owner was part of the group that wanted to unseat the local lord.
The Weary Wanderer – Located near the Skyway. A bustling tavern with good food, good drink, and prices that will make you yearn for the road again! Ask for the spiced potatoes!