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The Khalar Mountains
« on: October 03, 2016, 08:22:04 PM »
The Khalar Mountains



Introduction

The staggering peaks of the Khalar Mountains make up the majority of the diverse and majestic scenery which is the home of the Dwarves. From snowy northern peaks, all the way to the gloomy entrances of the Underdark, Khalar is both a sight for all, and a place with its own inherent dangers. Dotting beneath the mountains are the great Dwarven cities, varying in size and spectacles. These cities were crafted centuries ago by the greatest Dwarven craftsmen. Also beneath the mountain can be found many caves of varying wonder and danger, as well as mines and ancient vast halls of Dwarven houses and Lords long forgotten. A long with these wonderments of the world is a natural phenomenon, the Norzane; A Desert of Ice, often referred to as the cold heart of Khalar. While a treacherous place of howling cold winds and jagged sheets of ice, the Norzane serves as a divide between some of the major clans of Khalar, and is where trade routes cross over.

Khalar has eight clans, the oldest and largest of these being Clan Khur and Clan Thorgar. Each clan has lands of varying size, depending on the size and strength of each clan. Naturally, the cities of Thorgar and Khur are ruled by the clans of the same name. Khur holds power in the fact that the city and its mines are the largest, and with the exception of rare lucky finds, the only source of Mithril in Entar. Thorgar holds not only the power of being the only city built in the Norzane, but also being the guardians of the major meeting places of all trade routes. Thorgar is also a sight to behold, being built in both the mountain and the ice, it is comprised of majestic carved halls of ice and stone, and houses a popular tourist attraction of decadent hot springs.

As the Khalar range also houses a couple of entrances to the Underdark, it is the primary land-based route of traffic in and out of the Wastes. The lands of Khalar are patrolled by their respective clans, but can be treacherous for those that stray from the beaten track.
 
 
Major Cities

Khur

Founded by the dwarven clan, Khur, the city is often referred to as the Mithril City. An ancient mining settlement that became the first and capitol city of the dwarven nation. Khur is a testament to dwarven architecture and craftsmanship.

Quite literally carved into the mountains, the arches, passages and caverns all have intricate and well engineered design. Areas of the city have shorter ceiling heights, by tactful design, meaning mainly just Dwarves have access with ease, making the defense of the city unique also. While on the surface it can appear rough, architects around the world tell tale of how breathtaking and well designed the halls of Khur truly are. Khur is almost exclusively inhabited by dwarves.

What follows is are some of the distinct areas of Khur:

  • The Spiral: A gargantuan wending stair, leading from the base of the main cavern up to the Roost. Much more like a upward spiraling road than an actual stair, the spiral is the heart of travel in the city, as well as general commerce. Shops line the sides, vending most goods, and pathways to other passages and caverns branch off. It is not uncommon for one to find a tavern on the spiral, indeed it is not uncommon for travelers to spend their entire visit here.
  • The Roost: Under the peak of the mountains, at the top of the spiral lies the Roost. This hold home to more gubernatorial aspects of Khur. The main military and city guard barracks are located in the Roost, as well as the hall of the King, where the lord of Khalar makes his home and conducts his council. It is lavish and structurally well designed, and has on top of this the fact that an invading force would need to make their way all the way up the Spiral to challenge the king.
  • The King's Hall: While not entirely a hall, as it holds the residence of the lord of Khur, the Kings Hall is a huge multipurpose chamber. The king will hold council here, will host feasts, even festivals for the denizens of Khur. It is almost the match of the Great Arch due to its vastness and intricate architecture, while still fitting almost seamlessly into the mountain peak.
  • The Quarters: The main residential area of Khur, the quarters are midway up and off a branch in a separate cavern from the Spiral. While primarily common residential, many local crafts are made and sold here, in an almost insular fashion by the dwaves inhabiting the Quarters
  • The Warren: Deeper and lower than the Quarters, the Warren can be accessed also from the Spiral. The poor generally make their home here, but due to the low worth nature of the area, gangs and banditry are abound in this region of the city. Law enforcement is light here.
  • The Mines: The very foundation of Khur, as the city was a mere mining settlement in the beginning. When rich veins of Mithril were discovered, the city began to boom. This is the economic heart of Khur, and even Khalar. While famous for Mithril, there are many metals and ores mined in Khur. Some mines under Khur are abandoned, with myth and mystery abound, or simply because they were exhausted.
  • The Great Arch: The entry to Khur, it is one of the pieces of dwarven architecture that really represents their craft and skill. It is vast, so vast that should a river flow through it, a galleon could sail into Khur. Adorned with runes and statues it is a sight to behold. It can house guards in the structure, and is considered one of the most defensible entrances to any city in Entar.
  • The Colossus: Theoretically part of the Grand Arch, the Colossus depicts a great dwarven war hero, the origin of whom has been lost in time. This is also carved out of the mountain side, but adorned with Mithril embellishments.


Other Towns and Cities

Khalar is sparse in terms of major settlements, due to the nature of the terrain, and dwarven tendency to gravitate towards their kin. There are a few more cities, towns and villages of note:

  • Celdorak: A distinct city, built primarily on rocky outcroppings, but also halls in the mountainside. Celdorak was initially a defensive point on the only known passage through Khalar from the Haldarac. Recent years of peace turned the settlement into a larger town, bridging commerce gaps and exotic goods to the nation of Khalar. A strong force is still garrisoned here, partly through the stubbornness of the dwarves to abandon a position of such worth should there be conflict.
  • Thorgar: Very contrasting to the other cities, but still in keeping with the dwarven skill and passion for craft, Throgar sits on the edge of the Norzane, and is a quite literal city carved from the frozen waste. While the connotation of the Norzane is bleak, Throgar is a place of wonder. Most chambers are ice constructed, but as you go deeper, it becomes rock. The most prominent feature of Thorgar are the hot springs located deep under the mountain edge.

Naturally the kingdom is home to a large variety of towns and villages.


The Countryside

There are a few places of note in the Elentári countryside:

  • The Norzane: Often referred to as the Ice Desert, the Norzane is a desolate place, worse even than the Illyian tundra. It is never not winter here, and the land is covered in ice rather than snow. The ice never melts, and there are curious caves and ruins in the mountain sides. Strange creatures inhabit the Norzane, and most explorers and adventurers never return from this location.
  • The Norzane Pass: If one wishes to travel from Khur to Celdorak, other than going the long way, one mast make for the Norzane Pass. A jagged canyon of ice, it is a treacherous route. Khur forces patrol this pass as best they can, as it is a trade route to the Haldarac and the south, but travelers should expect danger when attempting the pass.
  • The E'tharn Branch: A major branch of the river, it wends through the mountains and is fed off streams and run off from the mountain side. Many small outposts will dot the sides of the river, as this is a main route to Valgard, or to the city of Thorgar.


Organization

  • The High Guild: The common name for the council that rules Khalar, presided by the lord of Khur, and generally accepted king of Khalar. Like the elves, the dwarven kingdom is represented by members of the main and historic families of the dwarves. The king is elected by the council, and is normally a person of stature or paragon within the nation, but is always a highly respected person by all.
  • The Clans: The main families of Khalar are the representing government of the nation. They are; Khur, Thorgar, Drucin, Beorn, Angrok, Hæl, Vrongst and Icehold. The strongest clan is Khur, and as such they reign currently over Khalar.
  • The Miners Guild: Formerly known as the worker's guild, and now the Miner's Guild struggles daily. The Miner's guild still has bases in all of the dwarven cities, maintaining its stance as neutral. Its primary goal and concern is the work labors of dwarven miners, and the proper ways to do it. The Miner's Guild is sometimes also called the Blacksmith's Guild, being also a strong enforcer of Black smithing and its similar work labors. The Miner's Guild is often used to relay messages to all parts of Khalar, being seen as trustworthy. Using its intricate system of relays, this Guild normally uses the deliverance of messages to aide its finances.


Credits

  • Original Concepts and Write-ups: Avy, Tholric, Aldelor & Golimor
  • Revised Edition: Davin Ragal & Zyrphath