A place to light the fire of avarice in the most virtuous, this huge cavern glimmers with the light of gold. This vast cavern is actually lined with fools gold, but still presents a truly spectacular vista. The dwarves have placed many large lamps fueled with mineral oils to light this chamber when visitors arrive. In addition to the fools-gold, the Dwarves have brought in massive crystals to add to the splendor (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cave_of_the_Crystals).
Glitterholm is held by the Hammerfall clan, and was once the lair of an exceptionally fearsome Cinder Dragon. A stone hall at one of the cavern memorializes the dwarves that fell slaying the dragon and features the Dragons’s skeleton, as well a number of apparently non-viable dragons eggs. The dwarves enjoy this realm and make quite a bit of coin from travellers who come to see the wondrous cave.
There are side cave similarly lined that are being used by the dwarves to mine out iron and vanishingly small amounts of gold.
A Orcish shaman received a vision of the cavern (not from his god, but a demon seeking to spread discord) and has fallen in mad love with the image. He is surprisingly charismatic (the demon’s influence again) and is working to unify a number of orcish tribes - and even other gold-hungry races - into an expedition to plunder the the Dwarven riches. Those who try and convince him that the treasure is false are ignored, or eaten.
2.The City of 10 000 tunnels
Deep within the mountains of Bonereach the great city of Garundholl can be found. As a passive defence, the city is surrounded in all dimensions by a vast warren of tunnels that seem to lead everywhere, yet nowhere. These tunnels are used by the dwarves to grow mushrooms and other subterranean plants, and prevent enemies from tunneling undetected into the main city within. The city itself is a worked stone complex forming a rough rectangle 1/2 mile long,1/2 mile wide and about 1000’ deep while the array of tunnels stretches miles in all directions. A 100’ wide shaft runs from the city to the peak of Mount Garundholl, which itself rises more than 3 miles into the sky. Three watchtowers guard this opening at the mountains peak, and the shaft itself has dozens of long iron spikes, chains and other obstructions to defend against dragon entry.
The dwarves of Garundholl are somewhat more insular then normal, and few outsiders visit the labryinthian complex. Outside trade is generally conducted in several outer complexes, with only dwarves allowed entry further on.
A powerful villain has come to Garundholl to hid, using magic to disguise themselves as a dwarf. The PC's have been able to track him here, but now they must somehow penetrate the vast complex without tripping up. The city is vigorously defended by its somewhat hostile population, so subterfuge is a must. What they find should they get deep enough, is there is a power struggle bordering on civil war in the city, which was touched off by the very villain they are seeking.
3.The Maze of Knadric Yaar
The dwarves of Knadric Yaar have, as followers of the Enigma God,, built a great stone maze that covers hill and dale over an area of ten square miles. There is only one entrance and one exit, which ends at their grand temple, nearly worthy of being a wonder itself. The walls of the maze vary in height and thickness, and in some cases cut through hillsides. The navigation of the maze is considered by the dwarves as an act of faith. Climbing the walls is considered blasphemous to the dwarves, and they will somehow always know if visitors have done so. The maze is not deliberately trapped, but occasionally creatures enter the maze and get trapped within. The nature of these beasts are quite varied.
More Questions than Answers
After many false starts, the PCs have found that the answers they seek are to be had at the Temple within the Maze. Unfortunately, the Temple of the Enigma is a place of mystery, not answers, and they arrive at a very inopportune time, for all of the dwarves have mysteriously vanished, leaving very little to tell their fate.
Those seeing the massive, 200’ tall warhammer carved from the very peak of the mountain cannot help but feel small. Perfectly proportioned, it looks like a gods weapon ready for use. This was indeed the intent of the Dwarven Thane that commissioned it, in response to a vision he received at his first wife’s funeral pyre. It took nearly 30 years to complete, and consumed much of the Thane’s energy, for he personally to a hand in its carving.
The region about the hammer is generally shunned by all but Khoric’s descendants, for his Shade is said to wander about, eager to throttle with bony hands, or smash with spectral warhammer. Nethertheless, a treasure map the PC’s have gained possession of directs them here. In additional to the potential supernatural threat they might meet here (though this is likely only a rumor - Khoric’s end was too gentle to inspire a restless spirit) the dwarves in these parts will be hostile to un-escorted treasure hunters. Openly declared treasure hunters would be lucky to get a coin out of the valley.
It Must Fall
The local dwarves have lost a war with a human or other foe, and this region has passed from their control. To make matters worse, they have learned their enemies seek to topple the great hammer with alchemical fire and they have little time to recapture the weekend. The PCs have been contacted to thwart the desecration of the Hammer.
The work of the mad dwarf-king,this massive above-ground city was a tribute to his mother. Although viewed with distaste by many of his subjects, his devotion to his mother was absolute, and her love for the the high-pinnacled human cities inspired his efforts. The result was a city that human builders could only aspire to - their own creations a mockery compared to the works of the dwarven builders. The dwarves grudgingly settled into the overly ornate city and eventually came to become used to. The dwarves only stayed in the city for two generations, before once again they moved into a more normal abode for dwarves. The abandoned city now houses several small communities of humans, but its distance from trade routes has preventing this beautiful city from rising again.
A dark power has come across the city, and found it to be a suitable home. Simply evict or destroy the pesky humans. The PCs may happen on this place having heard of it, or being on some errand or another. in any case, they come across this wondrous city while someone foul is attempting to clear it of its current occupants.
6.The Iron Bridge of Jathrar
Although no longer in dwarvish hands, this great bridge was the work of dwarven hands, a gesture of peace that helped end the Dread Wars of 200 years past. The Bridge spans the great chasm of Kettleborne, linking the east and western portions of the Emperor’s
Highway. The structure is a soaring suspension bridge nearly half a mile in length, with vast iron cables and stone supports, wide enough to permit the passage of two ox-carts side by side.
Many scores of dwarves perished in its construction, from accidents and the attacks of those who would see the wars continue.
A dozen basalt gargoyles were bond to the bridge to prevent sabotage of the bridge, with countless inanimate gargoyles to screen them. While they are typically no threat to those who pose no danger to the bridge, a few accidents over the centuries suggest that the binding runes were not perfectly made.
Of all the places to choose for a meeting, the bridge at night-time may be one of the worse. The shadows of all the gargoyles and spars form countless places for the imagination to play havok. And to make matters worse, one of the gargoyles has indeed snapped, and is looking for an opportunity to teach someone how to fly..
The PCs are contacted to stop a heartbroken nobel from casting himself into its depths. A desperate race is on to get to the bridge before he jumps, which will of course end at the bridge where they must talk him down or otherwise stop him. Of course the gargoyles have other plans..
7.The Emperor’s Highway
Though commonly claimed to be the work of various human rulers over the ages, none familiar with the works of the dwarves would ever believe this.
The Emperors Highway spans the continent of Gyre like a great stone spine. It holds its name for directly linking the capitals of no less than fourteen kingdoms and once-empires. It was indeed the product of an empire, but one of Dwarven origin, and one unlikely to rise again.
The great stone road is pathologically straight, carefully sited to minimize cutting through stone, but still has a great many bridges and tunnels to breach natural obstacles. The greatest of these is the vast Iron Bridge of Jathrar, which has been cited as a wonder in itself. Through it’s entire 1400 miles length, no grade exists high enough to greatly impact an oxcart, even with two mountain-ranges across its path.
The road is wide enough for two oxcarts with a couple feet of space to spare. It is fitted stone, with many stones going down as much as 6’ if they are not sitting on bedrock. Every 1500 yards is a stone marker, representing 2000 dwarven paces. Bridges and tunnels are similarly heavily built. Stone used is generally the hardest stone available within 20-30 miles from the road, although there are some areas where quarries were more than 100 miles distant.
The road has avoided destruction through the ages - the Dwarven Empire having been dead for more than 1000 years - though its sheer durability and its utility to the local powers.
Lost in a ravine a millennia ago, a massive automaton resembling a house-sized dwarf lies buried in Debris. If recovered and placed on the highway, it will revive using the latent power of the ley-lines that the highway follows.