Wawmar, Dwarven Fortress
Table of Contents
Maps of Wawmar
Methods of Construction
Military and Defense
Daily Life of a Wawmar Dwarf
Current State of Wawmar
Maps of Wawmar
Typical Dwelling Unit
Typical Dwarf Home
Kibil-gund, or Wawmar as it is generally known, is the greatest of the five legendary Dwarfholds. It is known for its perfectly carved tunnels, its magnificent halls, its soaring archways, and its grand vistas. Built in an extinct volcano, Wawmar is both a nearly-impregnable fortress and a wonder of engineering and architecture. Constructed at the behest of King Mar I and designed by the storied dwarven architect Agralin, Wawmar stood for untold millennia as the center of all things dwarven, especially their economy. Although it was originally built near the elven capital city of Alustel, which later fell, the precious metals of the mountain and the fine craftsmanship of the dwarves who lived therein insured that Wawmar would long remain a hub of trade.
The fortress city was also the center of dwarven culture after the fall of the first dwarfhold Liferock. As such, every dwarven trend in thought originated here and spread to all the other dwarf cities on the continent. Wawmar was home to one of the few dwarf philosophers, the sapient Nulin, who originated the idea that the love of work is the differentiating characteristic between the humanoid and bestial races. Advances in dwarven technology invariably began at Wawmar before disseminating to other dwarfholds. The famous steam-powered implements of the dwarves were invented in the volcano city.
Wawmar was chosen for its eminent defensibility, and as the deadlands grew up around it and the Wintervale encroached from the east, the fortress stood strong and weathered every attack thrown against it. The dwarves of Wawmar were ever safe behind her great walls, yet they were able to sally forth and attack their enemies almost at will. Indeed, Wawmar was only every breached once in history; alas, this successful invasion, led by the Lord of Greed, ousted the dwarves of Wawmar and doomed the survivors to homeless wandering. Now the halls of Wawmar are empty and dark, occupied only by memories and spirits-- and by the deadly dragon that conquered them.
Wawmar's history is nearly synonymous with the history of Farland. Only the elves have a longer continuous history. The dwarves reckon time differently than the other races, recording it since the foundation of their first hold Liferock, but for ease of use, the dates here will be given in the common Elhil and Farland Reckoning.
Wawmar, or Kibil-gund, was founded in the year 8305 E.R., after King Mar I, in consultation with Agralin the great engineer, determined the necessity for a defensible fortress. Once Agralin decided on a proper location, the main construction was completed in an astounding four years, although minor maintenance, expansion, and mining continued for the remainder of the time that the dwarves occupied Wawmar. The discovery of a lethal red dragon already making the site its home set back construction briefly, and cost many dwarves their lives, but the industrious khazak quickly got back on schedule after the dragon was slain. Later, many dwarven and gnomish towns, most devoted to mining the rich ores nearby, sprung up around the focal point of the great fortress, and Kibil-gund for many centuries ruled a large domain.
Because Wawmar was designed first and foremost for defense, its founding officially marked the period that dwarf historians called the Age of Fortification. This era, spanning the vast majority of Wawmar's history, was marked by intense battles and strife. The first notable war that the dwarves engaged in was the great battle against the early orc kingdom of Rothnog, in 8605 E.R., but this conflict was small compared to the struggle that was to follow. The remnants of the defeated nation of Rothnog headed south and established the even stronger nation of Stor-gris in 9332 E.R Wawmar and Stor-gris immediately became fierce enemies, and for over 1000 years, the two monumental nations contended against each other, at times making treaties of temporary peace and at other times engaging in hot bloodshed. Stor-gris was the worst enemy that Wawmar ever faced, before the advent of the Lords of Sin. Indeed, at one point during the long war, in 9779 E.R., the armies of Stor-gris besieged the very gates of Wawmar itself. The siege lasted for six years and threatened to end the existence of the dwarf kingdom, but the hearty Khazak were able to weather the storm, and eventually Stor-gris was overthrown and destroyed.
This did not end the troubles that Wawmar faced. The lands around the fortress-city became more and more wild and dangerous. The hills to the south were renamed the Nuzbar Hills, or the Hills of Horror, when dwarves mining there disappeared in 11, 259 E.R. (Scholars theorized that these dwarves stumbled upon the buried skull of the dead god Soggoth and became the first Duergar). The dwarf and gnome communities that surrounded the volcano fortress and lay under its sway slowly disappeared one by one. The dwarves from Kibil-gund often contributed troops to engagements that they felt threatened their national interest, and over the next nine millennia, they fought successively against the Drow (during the Hidden Wars of 12,601-2 E.R.) and multiple times against the dark hordes of the Dweller in the Wintervale. When the other dwarfholds were established the position of Wawmar became more stable, and it was never again, until the Dark Conquest, threatened the way it had been in the Great Wars against Stor-gris. Wawmar even fought against some of the human kingdoms that arose later in the histories. Most notably, it faced Zeland and Orland after the human kingdoms menaced the smaller dwarfhold of Dorlhaud; Wawmar defeated the humans soundly at the Battle of the Axe in 6530 F.R.
But these endless wars did not do damage to the dwarven psyche, because the Khazak always felt safe behind their mighty walls. They were thus able to engage in very successful commerce, trading with the gnomes, the elves, and the humans, and changing trading partners as the cities of their allies rose and fell. Wawmar was a constant presence, a mighty rock in the turbulent river of history. Their possession of mithril, perhaps the most sought-after commodity on the continent, always gave Wawmar an advantage in trade. Its successful economy allowed it to create items and weapons of power, such as the Mace of Ralin and the Axe of Mar XII, which became legendary throughout the continent.
But the wheel of fate began to turn, and the mood in Wawmar changed from one of pride to one of pessimism as the other dwarfholds began to fall one by one, as if they were the victims of some foul plot. Dorlhaud fell in 6522 F.R., Khallin fell in 7085 F.R., and Mithhaud was destroyed in 7131 F.R. This began the dwarven era known as the Time of Waning. Even still, Wawmar, though weakening, remained a powerful force on the continent of Farland-until the blitzkrieg attack of the Lords of Sin in 7798 F.R. For the next three years, King Mar XXI of the Unbroken Line led Wawmar in a desperate war against the encroaching dark forces, doing what he could to aid the human kingdoms, who were even more sorely pressed. Unable to stem the tide, Wawmar fell to the might of the Lord of Greed in 7801 F.R., and the last king of Wawmar was slain. The greatest dwarfhold now lies under the sway of the shadow.
By Agralin, Dwarf Engineer
The dwarf community had decided it would be advantageous to build a singular, distinctive city that would be an impressive, lasting monument to their ingenuity and work ethic, as well as to be a highly defensible structure capable of instilling the feeling of oneness and family within the clan hierarchy. A dormant volcano was chosen, as it offered the advantage of already being mostly constructed as well as having geometrical simplicity.
Initially, the dwarf population had to scout out the land for an extinct volcano. The volcano had to be fairly steep along the outslopes to enable the construction of additional secondary exit passageways. It was necessary to use one that was still slightly warm at the bottom of the hole, as the heat could be funneled and used to perform various tasks and would maintain at least a livable temperature all year round. It was important that the volcano have a very steep inner cone, preferably 10 to 20 feet of splay per 100 feet of elevation, to enable cutting access ways into the side.
The project team of dwarves from Agralin's company scouted the countryside for the ideal location for several years. It was believed that a colder environment would be more suitable for everyday life, since the interior of the cone would already be subject to a great amount of heat from the magma lying below the floor. At first, not much could be expected in the way of available volume for the construction of adits and drifts, since the requirements for steep inner and outer sides restricted the available thickness of the cone. The initial plans only envisioned several thousand dwarves as being comfortably housed within its walls. A dome volcano would not have the impressive profile of the cone, but would house many more.
Finally, after a few years of search, a suitable structure was found in the north, at the northern end of the Vestbreak Mountains. Its exterior was of the proper shape, but was only 200' high from the base to the top of the cone. Upon climbing it, however, the volcano was discovered to be well over a thousand feet deep to the bottom. The inner sides were steep and very regular, only slightly distorted from a perfect circle. It appeared to be constructed mostly of columnar basalt, an impressive, foreboding surface. The columnar surface was expected to cause some problems with construction, however, as the columns would tend to form natural vertical planes of weakness, and care would have to be taken to prevent excessive undermining and subsequent rapid failure. It was believed to be preventable with the proper design, and the scouting team met with the rest of the teams at a predetermined location to debrief the rest.
Agralin was wary of the basalt at first but had a plan for the housing units that should prevent structural problems. The teams ventured out to inspect the find. Once he arrived, Agralin was impressed with the stature of the mountain. It did not soar over the rest of the surrounding peaks, but the starkness of its shape made a statement of security, industriousness and prestige for which he was looking. He proceeded to detail the plans, work schedule, manpower requirements, and costs in a detailed report, which he presented to the Clan and King Mar I. After much haggling, their trust in the fabled fortress-builder won out and plans began to proceed.
Layout of Wawmar
Built inside the cone of an extinct volcano, Wawmar consists of ascending and descending levels or layers. The lowest layer is the Underhalls. This subterranean complex consists of the Festering Pits, which contains the masses of sewage generated by the inhabitants; the Great Halls, the throne room, governing halls, and personal chambers of the King and his staff; the smithing forges, wherein the most important work of Wawmar is completed; the crypts and lower chambers, where the kings of old are interned in cairns and where great treasures are stored; the Deep Halls, where prisoners are kept and where locked vaults protect ancient secrets; and the mines, where the khazak delve for mithril and gems. This last area contains a well-guarded, gated passage to the Dark Deeps; few dwarves ever pass this way.
The next level up is the floor level. This area is where the commerce of Wawmar is conducted. It contains the large merchant and blacksmith "city," a collection of permanent stalls and shops. It also contains warehousing, stables, and beautiful gardens replete with fountains. This level is dominated by the King's Walk, an arching central ramp that ascends to the Cathedral of Khuldul and which also provides access to the Great Ramp that one can use to access all of the levels of Wawmar.
Level 1 sits above the floor level. It contains the mansion-like dwellings of important personages, as well as a barracks to house the standing armed forces of the dwarf citadel. The barracks intersects the Great Ramp at several different locations, a tactical decision made to allow surprise and to allow the surrounding and isolation of invaders. Two tactical tunnels also lead from the barracks to the two gates on level 1.5 and allow soldiers to enter the entrance tunnels from above to again surround and surprise attackers. Another tunnel runs from the barracks to the outside, an exit chute, and it and the tactical tunnel to the south entrance are both equipped with a stone plug system to quickly and semi-permanently close these tunnels. Finally, level 1 contains an elevator mechanism to allow the raising and lowering of cargo to the floor level.
One enters Wawmar on level 1.5, which contains two gates: Walin's Gate, also called the South Gate, or the Main Gate; and Mar's Gate, also called the East Gate. Both entrances are protected by massive external and internal doors, which can be opened and closed easily but, once closed, are nearly impenetrable. The passages into the volcano consist of wondrously crafted hallways containing mechanical traps and murder holes to protect the fortress. The rest of this level consists of dwelling blocks.
The next level up is level 2. Level two is made up entirely of dwelling blocks, full of individual housing units. Each dwelling block consists of multiple streets and is a community onto itself, complete with public bathrooms, shops and a tavern, a chapel, and a communal meeting area.
Level 2.5 contains more dwelling units, but as the most central level of Wawmar, it also consists of two schools and a university, where dwarven scholars labor to understand the mysteries of the world.
Level 3, like level 2, consists entirely of dwelling blocks. Smaller and more drafty, the less economically successful dwarves make their home on this level.
Level 4, the highest level, contains the other industries of wawmar. A hospital, shop areas for silver and gold smithing, paper working, wood working, leather working, clothing and textiles, mushroom farming, and a brewery call this level home. A fan/turbine room, for moving air through the workings of the entire fortress, is situated on this level. A large community hall can also be found on level 4.
The construction of such an extensive fortress was quite complex; it is detailed here.
Military and Defense
The forces of Wawmar, like all dwarves, were quick to fight when their home was threatened or when they felt their honor had been insulted, and the Khazak of Khibul-gund had perfected the art of Dwarven warfare. At all times, a battalion of 500 dwarven warriors was within a horn blast, and in times of war several thousand dwarves could quickly take up arms. Moreover, the dwarves of the great volcano could call on their kin in the other Dwarfholds to provide soldiers, and they also were careful to maintain alliances with the gnomes and occasionally even with the elves. Thus they could, given enough time, field an army of close to ten thousand soldiers.
Their primary advantage in any fight, however, was their home, the great fortress of Wawmar, and they used it to its fullest extent. When from the vantage point of the high walls of the volcano they spotted an approaching army, they would take their time and adjudge the strength of the enemy. If they decided that the enemy was of a manageable size, they would sally forth in force and attack their foes in typical dwarven fashion, softening them up with volleys of axes and crossbows. Then they would employ their heavy infantry to drive toward the center of the enemy formation, attempting to cleave into the heart of the opposing army and destroy their leadership with surgical precision. During this action, flank and rear guard units protected the heavy infantry, making certain that the frontal assault was not disrupted. These units were supported in their defensive mission by dwarven cavalry mounted on Dire Boars. These highly mobile troops, called Tuskers, were designed to counteract the enemy Worg Riders.
If it is was determined that the enemy army was too large, the dwarves of Wawmar would typically march out with a small regiment of lightly armed axemen supported by Tuskers, engage the enemy, and attempt to fight a retreating action in order to draw the enemy into range of the siege engines (primarily ballistae and steam weapons) and the crossbowmen firing from hidden arrow slits. The strategy thenceforth was simply to stay inside the mighty fortress and allow the enemy to break themselves on the massive gates, wasting their manpower as they did so. When the enemy, weary and disheartened, finally retreated, the same shock troopers and Tuskers would emerge again to punish the foes before disappearing once more behind the gates. If any of the outer gates were breached (as they once were during the great siege by Stor-gris), the dwarves would simply retire behind the inner gates, which were nearly as strong as the outer gates. On the way, however, they would engage the seldom-used mechanical traps, including deep pits, crushing blocks of stone, and sharp wall-spikes that guarded the approach to the crater. They would also fire on the invaders from hidden murder holes and arrow slits. Thus the Khazak would make the enemy pay dearly with his own blood for every step he took inside the fortress.
In this manner the dwarves of Wawmar were able to weather dozens of sieges throughout the millennia, including the famous siege by Stor-gris and those waged by the Dweller's forces preceding the Battle of Sorrow. Indeed, a huge stock of excess non-perishable food was kept in the lower works, and rumors of a hidden "King's Exit" meant that Wawmar could potentially withstand a siege of nearly any length. In fact, only once was the fortress conquered, and that was by the attack of the mighty Dragon Axxtyklysstykor, who bypassed its formidable defenses by flying over the rim of the volcano while bearing several powerful troll warriors. While the dragon rained hell on the city, drawing forth all of the defenders, the war trolls crept forth and opened the east gate to a regiment of oluk orcs and trolls. These dark soldiers then invaded the fortress, but by the time they reached the crater, there was little need of them: the dragon had wreaked havoc on the unprepared dwarves. The oluks and trolls set to hunting the Khazak that had gone to ground in the deep passages of Wawmar. Luckily for the legacy of the folk of Mar, many dwarves managed to flee out of the southern gate during the assault.
It was the skill of the dwarven surveyors which led the dwarves to Wawmar. They realized that the volcano would be the perfect spot to establish a community, and they also conjectured that fine ores could be located near the intense heat of the defunct Wawmar volcano. Later inspection by dwarven sappers confirmed that there were indeed deposits of several types of metals that could be easily mined. These deposits were quickly brought to the attention of dwarven miners, who immediately began excavating the fine metals, establishing the planned community within the very volcano of Wawmar itself.
It was not long after the dwarven miners began excavation of the great city that they encountered that which they did not expect, a slumbering dragon, a great red known as Axxtyklysstykor. But dwarven might prevailed against the wyrm in the form of a small group of heroes who struck down the beast outside the volcano.
Despite the popular belief that mithril was discovered immediately after the dragon was defeated, it wasn't actually found until nearly a century after the first mining expedition began in Wawmar. Obviously, the discovery of such pure mithril deposits helped change the community into the largest dwarven settlement on the continent.
Commerce in Wawmar centered around the mining, smelting, and forging of fine metals, with mithril having the highest profile of all of them. However, the overwhelming volume of goods that were traded from Wawmar were mundane items, everything from pots to horseshoes to metal buckets. The weapons and armor produced in Wawmar were among the finest in all of Farland, although the actual amount of such items produced was smaller than most would expect. The governmental council held smiths to stringent requirements in the production of these weapons and armor, and all such items forged in Wawmar were of masterwork quality.
The area surrounding Wawmar grew as the mighty volcano Fortress began producing the finest hard-goods ever seen. Sheep and pig farms cropped up and lumberjacks plied their trade in the nearby wood. Fabric mills and tanneries were built, the clothing created from these facilities particularly geared towards the rigorous needs of the dwarven mining community.
Unlike most insular dwarven settlements, Wawmar was a bustling trading community. Despite restrictive regulations on the trading of armor and weapons with non-dwarves, trade with elves, humans and gnomes flourished as a result of the quality products created by the highly skilled dwarven smiths. This trading community peaked during the reign of the mighty dwarven King Dwarin who authorized the shipment of several hundred pounds of mithril to the elves, in exchange for magically enchanted roots and herbs, bred especially to survive in the volcanic soil of subterranean Wawmar. Rumor has it that there was a black market within Wawmar itself, where unscrupulous dwarves sold Wawmar-crafted armor and weapons to non-dwarves, but evidence of this was never found.
However successful Wawmar became as a trading destination for other races, the government council always felt it important to make sure that they retained the ability to become self-sustaining if need be. Thanks in part to various financial incentives granted to farmers, large farms of edible fungus and mushrooms were grown in the deep, rich volcanic soil of subterranean Wawmar. In addition to the naturally grown products of subterranean Wawmar, vast stores of foodstuffs--preserved with the enchanted herbs garnered in the monumental elven trade of 9531 E.R.--were stored in the event of a siege from enemy forces. One dwarven cleric prophesied that the mighty fortess would never fall from an enemy siege, a prophesy which came true, as the mighty fortess only fell through the concentrated efforts of a mighty dragon, the Lord of Greed himself.
No dwarven settlement is complete without breweries, and Wawmar was no exception. Local dwarven spirits were brewed, as well as ales, the most popular of which were a rich, heavy spirit called "Spruce Beer" and a thick, nutty brown ale brewed from fermented mushroom stems known to the locals as "Old Number 9." Not surprisingly, this hearty brew, preserved with the enchanted maenaie root (another of the magical roots gathered from the elves) quickly became a favorite of nearby gnome communities and was one of Wawmar's largest exported items.
Daily Life of a Wawmar Dwarf
A day in the life of a Wawmar dwarf was guided by routine that had served each of his companions well over the construction of the stronghold. The typical dwarf hearth consisted of a husband, wife, and one or rarely two children. A few were larger and taxed the proportions of the standard dwelling unit in Wawmar. But this was not a problem for the hard-working dwarves. Most of them came from a mining or construction background, and as such, it was no problem to find a friend who could aid in extending their homes. Each level of the extinct volcano was at least 100 feet higher than the last, offering ample room to expand into three or even four floors.
The dwarves lived, for the most part, in the upper levels of the community, far above the warmer, more humid lower levels. The great fan on the fourth level, fueled by composting wastes and gasses from fissures, continually pumped fresh air to all of the homes. Other air movement occurred naturally in the windy, compartmentalized workings. Fresh water supply and sewage were handled by an ingenious set of shafts cut into the rock between levels.
The lower levels of the city housed industry and trade. Mining, smithing, woodwork, leatherwork, clothing manufacturing, brewing, mushroom farming and maintenance of the city's infrastructure offered plenty of jobs to the over 20,000 dwarves living healthy, long lives in the complex. The long trek to work, whatever it might consist of, would be even more arduous for other races, especially up the ramps at the end of the day. But the dwarves of Wawmar had grown used to the exercise and were naturally a hearty lot.
Fire for warmth, light, and cooking was made from burning wood, predominately the tall spruce trees outside the stronghold. Being situated in the high plains and mountains of the north, the weather was bitter cold in the winter, warm and dry in the summer, but in the cone of Wawmar, the magma far below the bottom of the floor kept all but the top levels fairly comfortable.
Children led active lives, attending one of two large schools in the crater. Women shopped and prepared food for the family and had an important hand in the upbringing of the children; a few even worked in the lighter trades, such as leather, clothing and wood manufacturing.
From late spring to early fall, if times were relatively peaceful, many inhabitants would venture out to the surrounding hills and forests to enjoy, whenever possible, the fresh air and beauty of their surroundings. But they did not dally for long, as a dwarf's emotional life is dedicated to work and the pursuit of craftsmanship.
Being an industrial hub of varied disciplines, the city and surrounding areas thrived on trade. The dwarves mined, logged and built many sought-after items that were used to buy necessities of life that they couldn't make for themselves in great quantities, such as grain, vegetables, and some meats. For these items, they traded fine jewelry, forged farm implements, swords and armor, cooking items, leather goods, and clothing. They even exported some fine ale, brewed in the lower levels of the mountain. A balance of trust and money enabled them to maintain a synergistic relationship with tribes and communities near the stronghold, as goods flowed in and out over the hewn stone ramps.
It was not as if these industrious beings were devoid of fun, frolic and laughter, however. Whistling and singing as they trudged through their busy day, hard work was its own reward for them. Many times, a simple song such as "Carve for me a Rock" or "Khuldul's Children" would be repeated in step by passers-by without thinking, as the joy of labor instilled an energy into each dwarf. Once a week, on the Eve of the Day of Rest and Atonement, they would stop work before their regular workday and convene in Gelmar's Room. This hollow, huge hall was located on the fourth level, not surprisingly near the brewery, where tribute was paid to Khuldul and Dhurli. Weight lifting, throwing, leaping, wrestling, battle skills and, of course, drinking was the order of the next six hours, as they reveled in life and the rewards for a hard day's work. Even shouting, insults, staring, and poetry contests brought forth beer to the winner, and to the losers as well. They left the hall with a new sense of camaraderie and renewed friendships.
Wawmar was a fortress, but even more, it was a way of life. The city basked in its own legendary status, in its believed impenetrability, in its grandeur; as such, life in the Crater of Kings demanded excellence from all. Traders from the outside were treated with courtesy, unless situations demanded otherwise, and the quality of goods accepted in trade or purchase by the dwarves had to meet their standards. Often, arguments would arise at the trading Mecca, the floor of the city, over quality or insufficient amounts of food, or the craftsmanship of other items. These disputes kept the local lawmakers busy just to keep ahead of specifications for quality control. Consumables, be they food, clothing or other types, had to pass tests to assure that trade was fair and just. Palming or bait-and-switch tactics were looked upon as stealing and were treated with swift justice, landing more than one wayward shyster behind bars. On the other side, inspectors often frequented leather and clothing factories, the blacksmith shop, the brewery and other places of industry to assure that no Dwarven items would fail their strict checks.
On the Day of Atonement, several worship services were held during the course of the day, as seating for the population was limited and attendance was always high. The Cathedral was considered by dwarves to be the most beautiful, enduring symbol of life on the continent. The quality and quantity of workmanship instilled a feeling of importance to each member of the hearth, at the same time reminding him or her of the greatness and majesty of Khuldul Rockcarver himself.
The industrial prowess of the dwarf was well known and well deserved. Out of varied raw materials were made articles of everyday use and some of the better valuable items found on the continent. The fine woodworking shop was a prime example. Most of the wood from the immediate area surrounding Wawmar consisted of spruce and pine, but through trading, many other types were available, such as linden, polonia, oak, lignum vitae, sycamore, oak, hickory, cherry and maple. From the blacksmith's forge came woodworking tools, including saws that cut on the pull stroke, hand planers and jointers, pit saws, and fine carving tools.
The woodcarving alone was a beauty to behold-intricate figures of the nine original gods of the universe, imagined scenes from the Ontological War, of Khuldul Rockcarver, Dhurli Ironbeard and many other historical and theological figures were carved in actions from the creation of the Multiverse to the creation of Wawmar itself. The strong, talented hands of the carver brought to life the beings of history, prying them out of cold, dead wood for all to enjoy. These articles were sold on the open market on the Floor shops, paying for wages, tools, and more raw materials. Children of woodcarvers would often leave at the end of school to learn their parents' tedious, exacting craft and to carry on the proud tradition.
Clothing manufacture was another of the light industries in which the dwarves of Wawmar excelled. Northern sheep from surrounding farms provided quality wool in trade for expensive clothing, and strong cotton from some of the southern lands was also sought. Very little use was made of some of the better materials, such as silk, as they had little purpose for fancy, frilly clothing. Most of the garments needed by dwarves were of the tougher variety, due to the constant work ethic of that sturdy race. As with woodworking, children tended to follow their family traditions and footsteps in learning the trade.
Mining continued after the completion of Wawmar, as delving in stone was etched in the very heart of the dwarf community. Several mine slopes were driven from the floor, which was below the level of the surface outside the stronghold, following veins of moderate assay value into adjoining mountains. Once there, they widened into room-and-pillar work and airshafts were driven to the surface. The room-and-pillar workings consisted of long entries driven parallel to each other, and sometimes up to 100 feet apart, for several hundred feet, where cross-connecting entries were driven to allow better flow of air. These systems of entries followed various minerals, including galena, taconite, copper-bearing ores and tin-bearing siderite. When rich deposits were located, to either side, ahead or above and below, other finger entries were driven until the ore was exhausted. For vertical development, raises and slopes were driven up and down, as the deposits rarely remained on a level plain.
At each several miles of entry development, the long trip back to Wawmar was too far to tram out the ore, and other slopes were driven to the surface to transport it to overland travel methods. Further, it was too far for the miners to travel home each day, and several underground towns grew up for living away from the hearth. Usually, the miners would walk several miles to work, then at the end of the first day, travel to the next town to mine again, then return to the first town on the third day, and then to home for a few days rest. The miners enjoyed the three-day-on, two-day-off work week, and for the remaining work day, they would aid transport of materials and ore, as well as other related jobs.
Taconite and other iron ores were used in creation of steel. Galena was smelted to produce lead, a very valuable metal used for the manufacture of steam-driven weapons. Copper enabled the smiths to produce eating utensils, beer vessels, and other finer works of art. Tin enabled them to alloy the copper to produce brass, a metal approaching steel in strength. Smelting was often accomplished outside the walls of Wawmar, as it was a very messy, heat-producing affair.
There were fewer young miners joining their fathers, as the turnover rate was not very high-dwarf miners would sometimes work in the mines until they couldn't physically do the strenuous labor, and some would spend 100 or more years at their craft.
Brewing was a very prized occupation in Wawmar, and some of its fine ales and stouts were well-known throughout the land, although they were restricted to the confines of the crater itself. King Mar 1, in c. 8310 E.R., at the behest of the colony's first master brewer Galim, proclaimed that dwarven ales and stouts were to be consumed within the walls to prevent it from spoiling on a long journey, thereby tarnishing its good name. Barley was procured from nearby farmers in trade and transported to the brewery on the fourth level. Here, it was wetted, spread out on polished floors, and turned often and continually ventilated, until it sprouted. Then heat from vents in the crater's walls dried the barley, and it was tossed to remove the chaff from the active rootlings. The roots were heated in great vessels to steeping temperatures, changing the starch to malt sugar.
At this point, a peculiarity of dwarf beer was introduced. Fresh twigs and shoots from the spruce trees surrounding the volcano were snipped and harvested during growth months and dried for year-round use. The twigs were boiled with the steeped mash, imparting a rich, strong taste that complimented the barley's natural malt sweetness. Some hops from farmers nearby were thrown in at the proper time, and the mash was then cooled by moving it to the outer portions of the workings.
Galim had discovered that the sludge that formed at the bottom of actively fermenting beer actually contained the essence of the fermentation, although it was not known why this happened. He saved the sludge and "fed" it small amounts of fresh mash, and upon drying the sludge into cakes, it was found that it would "come alive" again when introduced into the cooled mash. He did not understand the basic principles, but through drying and reusing this sludge, he assured that the ale would be consistent over the generations.
The finished beer was dispensed in turns and buckets to households and sold at shops and taverns on the Floor. It was considered by most to be an excellent drink and became a staple of Dwarven food and life. It was even prescribed by doctors for lactating mothers as a fine food for good nutrition of babies.
Current State of Wawmar
Today, in the year 8170 F.R., there are no dwarves in Wawmar. Instead, the once proud kingdom is the fell domain of the Lord of Greed, the ancient red dragon known as Axxtyklysstykor or Firefight. The dragon dwells in the lower foundries where he can revel in the fumes and heat of the still-active magma below. The upper reaches of the vast fortress lie cold and quiet.
Unlike the domains of the other Lords of Sin, Wawmar is not a populated kingdom. Besides the dragon, the only other residents are several companies of horrid war trolls, powerful giants clad in specially made armor and wielding greatswords or axes. The Lord of Greed, ever avaricious, chooses only the strongest trolls so that he can keep the numbers of his guards small and thus keep their overall expenses low. He supplements the defenses of his kingdom by activating the dangerous traps that the dwarves built long ago to protect their most important and private places. These traps were generally not used by the dwarves as they tended to disrupt commerce. This is not a problem in current Wawmar, however, as the only traffic to or from Wawmar is supplies born by orcish merchants, many of whom do not leave the volcano fortress once they pass the southern gate.
The day to day business of the domain is conducted by Greed's chancellor, the half-dragon half-fire giant Torm, a creature grown by the Deadly Lord using his own blood. Torm manages what little contact Wawmar has with the other occupied kingdoms. The dragon generally slumbers, rarely setting forth from the lower halls, which are off-limits to all but the chancellor. However, word of the liberation of the western kingdoms has begun to reach the great wyrm, and he has started to stir, stretching the soreness of decades of sleep from his powerful wings...