See here for
a complete list of Caecern world design articles.
Much like the Ural Mountains in Europe, the Worldcrown Mountains
separate the "game area" for Caecern from the larger continent to the
east. The Worldcrown is passable in only a few places. The only
passes large enough to handle significant amounts of trade are
controlled by the Dwarven Stoneholds and the Elven city state of
Eldruthar. The Lakelanders to the south control a few small passes,
but, by and large, most trade with the east is done via ship and not
The Dwarven Stoneholds
To the north of the Highlands, the Worldcrown Mountains extend further
west, ending in hills and fjords at the sea seperating the Seven
Kingdoms from Dragath Fol. This extension of the Worldcrown is the
core of the Dwarven Stoneholds. Each Dwarven Stonehold is ruled by a
karl. Once every hundred years, the karls meet and elect a High
King. The individual karls have considerably more influence and
power over thier own Stonehold than a duke would in the Seven
Kingdoms - the Stoneholds are really more of a collective of
independant states than a unified nation.
Each Stonehold consists of a main aboveground keep that serves as the
main entrance from the surface. Much like human castles, the keep is
heavily defendable. Unlike a human castle, a stonehold also has a
large underground structure of rooms, buildings and tunnels where the
Dwarves spend much of thier lives. A stonehold will also have at
least one (and often more) enclosed valleys or plateaus that are only
easily reachable from tunnels in the stonehold. This area is used for
food production - either agriculture or livestock, depending on the
area. In many cases, the farmhollows (as they are called), have been
shaped slowly over time through magical influence - the benefit of
being a patient race with long life spans.
Stoneholds are connected to each other through long tunnels, allowing
the Dwarves to conduct internal trade without external interference.
Periodically, other cave-dwelling species will find thier way into
these networks of underground roads - wackiness then ensues.
Much of Dwarven trade is based on metal and stone - both mining and
quarrying, and the export of manufactured product made from metal and
stone. Dwarven clothing tends towards kilts and vests, with the
preferred materials being leather and wool. Colour-wise, Dwarves tend
towards stark contrasts that show up well in darkvision (which only
shows shades of grey.)