An Epic

Wawmar, Dwarven Fortress

by Eric Williamson

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

Aerial View
Structural Cutaway
Floor Level
Level 1
Level 1.5
Level 2
Level 2.5
Level 3
Level 4
Dwelling Unit
Rest and Housing
Mining Communities Around Wawmar


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.

Methods of Construction

The method of construction utilized consisted of simple, backbreaking hard work. Thankfully, it was performed with the use of special metals. Simple high-carbon steele picks, axes, breaking bars, drill steels and shovels were constructed with high-quality irone and techniques developed by skilled blacksmiths. Then the equipment was given to a dwarven wizard, steeped in the knowledge of special steele treatment, and with the help of the lead blacksmith, the tools were treated. Treatment consisted of "soaking" the steele in a mixture of special, magical metals, under the spell of the wizard, at yellow-orange heat, before wooden handles were attached. These special metals then entered into the structural steele crystalline matrix, and when the steele was properly quenched in other magical liquids, they exhibited certain properties that made them invaluable to the dwarves. These properties included heightened flexibility and durability, along with the ability to "focus" and amplify a hundredfold the striking impact of the user. A simple swing with an enchanted pick could break apart hard basalt immediately, almost explosively, giving the wielder incredible power and control.

The excavated rock had to be dealt with, as the force of the instruments would only carry the rock so far from the working face, after which it would settle and block the entries. At this point, several wizards were employed, and using appropriate spells, they were able to keep the rocks rolling all the way to the entrance. The rocks were simply and summarily cast over the edge of the interior roadway (ramp), to fall to the bottom of the cone. In addition, the miner was protected by another spell from the explosive nature of his work, and rock was deflected from striking him as it flew off the face.

A night shift climbed down to the bottom of the cone and placed the excavated rock more appropriately, moving the stones to fit well and create a base to support the final construction of the city below. At first, it was believed that only about 2 million tons of rock would need to be handled. As detailed further on in this report, this total climbed to 6.75 million tons as the community grew and more space was found for the workings. The total depth of the crater, from the lip of the cone to the floor, was originally 2500', and the bottom 1500' was filled with the excavated rock, leaving a crater 1000' deep.

The construction consisted of ramps driven upward and downward at about an 8 to 10 percent grade. This is generally the highest slope for comfortable walking and pushing carts. Several crews of dwarves would work on the ramps and switch out when tired, while others would "veer off" and begin side-rooms, such as the mechanical rooms, Cathedral, schools, living quarters, industrial sites and exit chutes. The working dwarf crews would live in the newly-built dwellings until a second crew worked toward them, fine-touching and cleaning the rooms, making them permanently habitable. Each dwarf would bring in his family when the dwellings were ready, get up in the morning, and walk to work.

Special drill steels were used to drive shafts between the levels of the mechanical rooms for water, sewage, and venting. The exit chutes were driven upwards at a slight slope to daylight, but widened in one place. The widening consisted of picking around in a fan, then picking back into a continuation of the chute, leaving a large rock in the center of the chute. This rock was then picked along its edges and broken loose. A hole was driven in the inner side of the rock and a rope attached. This created a "plug" that could be pulled from the inside to seal off the chute, in case of attack, or pushed to open the chute, allowing dwarves to walk around the sides of the rock. This was a perfect defense.

As work continued, at the bottom of the crater, the floor progressed upward as the excavated rock was dumped and then laid in. As the excavation reached the end, the last masses of rock, dug from the lower workings, was laid in with some mortar, but mostly interlocked, rock-by-rock, to form sturdy pillars. Some holes were driven with the long drill steels for the purpose of extracting some of the lava. Special ceramic buckets were used to lift the lava to the pillars and to the bridging pieces between them. The interlocking nature of the basalt was used, and where it was necessary, the lava was used to "weld" the rock in place. The pillars were held together so tightly they could stand nearly vertically, and they thus supported the King's Walk. This walkway was used for final defense, focal points of gatherings, ceremonies, and as a lasting symbol to the ingenuity of the very beings capable of constructing such a city.

The fissures at the floor level usually conveyed to the surface flammable gasses, such as methane (or Fireatin), hydrogen sulphide (noxin) and carbon monoxide (Devil's Breath). These were tapped at places under the floor of the cone and pumped by an ox-driven machine, compressed into copper tanks, and used to fire steam burners, then used for steam-powered weapons. Some of the gasses were fed into the mechanical room, where it was mixed with sewage gasses and burned as described below.

The sewage and all compostable materials were sent down the sewage chute. These chutes were funneled into collector chutes and slopes (a slope is a shaft driven at a low percentage of fall), and then to a main chute to the Festering Pits. There, the material was treated with special magical herbs and chemicals to assure complete deterioration, turning it all to combustible gasses. The gasses were vented to the main mechanical room, where it was used to turn a large turbine. This turbine then was belted to a fan which moved air from the surface to each interior roadway in the living quarters and industrial sites. This provided all with a source of breathable air and sufficient air changes per hour to sustain comfort.

The basic structure of the workings mined to create Wawmar was that of a spiral ramp, carved along the inside of the cone and angled downward toward the bottom. Along the length of this ramp were other entrances mined into the thickness of the cone. As these other entrances were mined, the mining spread out to form useable workings, such as housing, industrial sites, military barracks, community rooms and industrial sites. The workings were, for the most part, cut into honey-combed rooms, using the unmined rock to separate the rooms into useable subdivisions. In other cases, such as with individual housing units, the rooms were later separated by wooden or stone walls and doors.

The mining was begun from two directions; one from the top of the crater downward, and the other from the ground level on the south side of the crater through the cone to the inside. An initial survey was made of the inside of the cone from the ground level to the lip, and this survey determined where the upper crew would begin in order to meet the second crew. The survey itself was an impressive project. Agralin himself headed the crew. Through the use of gyroscopes, plumb bobs, a system of tiny reflective mirrors and innovative methods of hanging string panels, coupled with dangerous climbing and work while suspended above the crater floor, an extremely accurate survey was made of the proposed meeting point. The survey hit within 1/32th of an inch over 3000 feet.

For the purposes of communal organization, these workings were grouped into levels. The first, or Level 1, was cut from the lip of the crater down to where the south entrance would intersect with it. While it was being driven, a few dwellings were driven to house the miners, and it was believed to be important to build a barracks on this level, to maintain security while the rest of the work was being performed. The barracks intersected the ramp at several different locations, a tactical decision made to allow surprise and to allow the surrounding and isolation of invaders. Two tactical tunnels were driven as well. These tunnels went from the barracks to the two horizontal entrances, at the south and east, and allowed soldiers to enter the entrance tunnels from above to once again surround and surprise attackers. Another tunnel was driven from the barracks to the outside, an exit chute, and it and the tactical tunnel to the south entrance were both equipped with the stone plug system described above. The Level 1 portion of the ramp continued to the south entrance, with crews adding dwellings and a cargo winch room before intersecting with the south entrance. At this point, the crew began the mining of Level 2 workings while the entrance crew continued the ramp.

During the initial phase of the construction, some rumblings were detected at the bottom of the crater. Agralin placed a simple but ingenious device, a pan of water and oil, on the cut ramp away from the workings to monitor the vibrations during a few days' time. The vibrations ceased with the work and re-appeared when work commenced. Agralin felt that the vibrations were sympathetic reflections of the explosive nature of the excavation, and work continued.

The entrance crews created quite an impressive tunnel, and rightly so, as this would be the first, most lasting view of the development. As these crewmen had little or no experience with the new equipment, the learning curve was steep. But they excavated the tunnel about 4 to 5 feet narrower and shorter than what was designed. A second crew, with whom Agralin felt more comfortable in their abilities, followed the first, taking smaller, lighter cuts of the rock. They artistically smoothed and curved the rock, making the walls look and feel as if they were molded steel, ground smooth. A third crew followed, indeed polishing the walls with harder granite and marble stones cut to match the curvature of the walls. The opening of the entrance tunnel was widened into a large foyer, where a huge door was installed. The door was actually a huge slab cut from the rock in the tunnel, fitted with pockets and suspended on steel pins and arms. The resulting door could be moved with a mere touch, but was so thick and heavy that to open it fully required a crew of dwarves. The tunnel, once completed, was in itself one of the most incredible miracles out of all the amazing engineering feats that created Wawmar.

Construction took a different turn at this point, both unexpected and fortuitous. Agralin expected the complex to hold only a few thousand dwarves when he began the design stage. At Level 2, he found that the rock dome of the volcano actually spread out very quickly and uniformly in extent, and plans were changed. Level 2 was redesigned for an increased thickness of the cone, now well over 400 feet. And as the ramp progressed, it was found that the cone now became a bulge of lava in the earth, allowing many times the original volume. Assuming this was now a bulging type of a shield volcano, plans now allowed room for nearly 20,000 inhabitants, and the scheme of the project turned from one of an outpost and small town to one of a city and social center.

At the beginning of Level 2 construction, the rumblings were detected again, accompanied by some other strange sounds and belching of fire from the side of the crater, near the bottom. Agralin again placed the vibration sensor on the cut ramp and monitored the vibrations, ceasing the night shift below. There was concern that the volcano was not completely dormant. Agralin directed crews to continue after a short investigation and to dump most of the rock over the area where the flames were coming from. This was done, the rumblings stopped, and construction continued.

As the elevation of the ramp decreased about 160 to 210 feet for each revolution of the ramp, it was decided to design and build a series of secondary levels between each of the original levels, as there would be ample room, vertically, for additional levels. Levels 1.5 and 2.5 were begun with the help of additional crews recruited from the Clan. Apparently, the fame of Agralin, coupled with the excitement of the new structure, drew hundreds of dwarves to sign up for the work.

Another development was encountered at Level 2. A seam of an unknown metal was found. It was a bare, native metal that baffled alchemists, blacksmiths and wizards alike. Agralin knew this metal would be important, although it was not known how it would be used until later. He stockpiled the strange substance, and some further testing uncovered its ability to completely "dissolve" detritus and waste material without being consumed. Soft, shiny and maroon in color, it possessed the ability to catalyze chemical reactions. It was used in the festering pits to assure complete digestion of the city's wastes.

Level 2 was the first level built with a "standard" housing unit concept. The plan view was separated into 12 wedges, each one 600 feet in length, 450 feet at its widest, and 250 feet at its narrowest width, with a set of roads leading to the main ramp. Each wedge could house over 500 dwarves. A concentric inner road was formed across each wedge, connecting them for access, emergency exit, and ventilation. On each level, Agralin planned a set of ventilation shafts. They were connected to the fan, powered by a turbine that was fueled by burning gasses mostly from the festering pits, described above. The upshaft, or supply shaft, was driven between and into the fan house room of each level. The air was then blocked from the downshaft by walls, and the resulting difference in pressure forced air around the inner road and through the dwelling areas.

Level 2.5 was designed and built along the same lines as level 2, but two of the housing wedges were sacrificed to be worked in different configuration and to serve as schooling units. It was believed that this location would be the most centrally located of the levels.

Level 3 was designed and built with the same configuration as level 2. Room for more housing was available along the outer edge of the housing units, but Agralin felt that the stress calculations did not allow for more mining.

A source of water was needed. It was relatively simple to acquire drinking water, as there were several sources of water on the surface near the cone. A few streams were dammed and water was fed into a shaft to a series of cross shafts, where it flowed to the individual public rest rooms. One of these rooms was situated in each living unit and consisted of a water-holding pool, a sewage shaft, and at least six minor shafts connected to the main shaft. These minor shafts began about 6 feet below the level of the floor and splayed out (radially, equally spaced and vertically, about 45 degrees from vertical) to form holes in the floor. A privy fixture was attached to each hole, and the six holes were grouped into male and female rooms by a dividing wall. A constant flow of water was maintained down the shafts from the surface, usually a minor amount, to continually flush the system. A vent connected the rooms from below, carrying fumes upward. The water-holding pool was meant to provide running water for the use of the populace and to slow the descent of the water to the lower levels. Unstopped and contained in a single pipe, the water would exert pressure in the lower levels that would not be able to be handled.

A cargo system was developed to provide a method of transporting bulk materials, goods, and supplies to the levels below. It consisted of two wooden rails, about 4 feet apart, affixed to the front edge of the ramps, running between each ramp, all the way from the first level to the floor. Each set of rails had a swinging, hinged set about 8' long, which could be released and swung inward to direct the cargo transport to the ramp to be loaded or unloaded. When ready, the signal was given to raise the transport above the swinging location, the moveable ramps were swung and locked into place, and the transport continued down or up. The transport consisted of a simple wooden cart with wooden wheels with a cage for retaining the goods safely. The cargo was counterbalanced with a length of rope and a second cart on a parallel rail. At times, goods were placed in the second cart relieving the force needed to transport the other cart. A drum and donkey arrangement were used at level 1 to provide the necessary turning moment.

As work progressed downward, work also continued upward from the bottom. Crews were sent in to lay the rock tighter on the floor, in fear that the mountain was stirring to life. Only a few faint rumblings and vibrations could be heard, then they quieted. The upper portion of the development reached Level 4. Agralin intended this to be an industrial level, being closer to the eventual social center and trade and gathering area. At this point, however, he determined through some measurements that the virgin stresses on the rock were quite high. (His measurements were taken with a very highly accurate device he invented in the field on the spur of the moment. It consisted of tiny mirrors glued to the top, bottom and sides of a test opening that was driven into the side of the ramp. The mirrors were aligned with other mirrors at the other side of the crater, amplifying their angular movement. When sunlight hit one of the mirrors, the new location of the reflected light indicated movement. He was later hailed as having invented a scope of high accuracy, which was later dubbed the "Agralinometer"). This increase in stress was to be expected, and would be eventually alleviated somewhat as more of the upper workings were formed and weight was taken off the lower ones. But he designed on the side of caution and left some pillars in place near the center, not far inside the ramp. These pillars were left under the existing smaller pillars between the wedges of housing on the upper layers to form "rims" of rock going up through the mass, much like an interior, load-bearing wall in a house. Further, a limit was placed on the amount of housing, as measured from the ramp into the cone, at 600 feet, to allow the outer shell of the cone to take weight and redistribute stress. Construction then recommenced for Level 4, and few spalling or stress cracks were noticed.

The workings of Level 4 were extensive, but as the pillars took stress, they were hollowed out and arches were formed in the roof to help support the greater spans. It worked well, and several large rooms were created. A hospital, shop areas for silver and gold smithing, wood work, leather work, clothing and textiles and a brewery were created. A fan/turbine room was created for moving air in the workings, and another room was started at the north side of the ramp.

At this point in time, the rumblings began again. They were quite violent, shaking the entire mountain. Some of the rocks in the area of the floor, where the belching of flames was seen several months earlier, moved and heaved upward. A head of a beast appeared, immensely large, and began shooting flames and roaring a deafening sound. Crews ran for cover within some of the workings. The creature wrenched itself free to stand on the rocks of the floor, roaring and shooting flames. It leapt vertically, then flapped its wings and landed on the ramp at Level 3. It was a huge dragon, clasping its claws on the ramp and holding on to the workings vertically, much like a woodpecker holds on to the side of a tree. It craned its neck and tried to push its head into a working, but was repelled when several of the dwarves struck it with their magically-enhanced picks and drill steels. Many of the dwarves were killed in the fierce battle, being burned and bitten, but the dragon was loosened from its perch, partially from attacks above and also from attacks from workers on the fourth level. The creature spread its wings and soared around the crater, liberally spewing fire, until the crossbow bolts that the dwarves shot from cover drove it off. Over the next few weeks, the dragon appeared again and again, harrying the construction and nearly bringing it to a halt. Finally Agralin put together a war party to hunt the beasts in the wild lands around the mountain, and they managed to track it down. After a pitched battle, the beast was slain and buried where it fell.

Finally the task could proceed. As the workings of Level 4 continued, the rock level below rose quickly, now to within 250' of the level. Agralin calculated that there would only be enough room for one more level, with some rock left over. Level 5 was begun with the great Cathedral. It was carved in two stages, the first being the upper half of the entire room, enabling the top to be reached. The high ceiling was carved in an arch and polished to provide a breathtaking feeling to the worshipers. The basalt walls were carved following the natural columnar tendencies of the rock, carefully following the planes of weakness until each column "came free" from the sides. The rock between the columns was then removed to allow them to stand out, and they were cut near the top to provide ledges about 20' above the designed, finished floor. The rock was polished with the same technique as that used in the entrance tunnels. Once this was done, work began on the floor level. The walls were continued downward on the sides to reach the final floor level, with much attention paid to the polishing and some intricate carving along the walls, depicting great struggles and key social points in time. This left the seating area interior to the finished walls. This area was very carefully carved into solid basalt pews, rising up from and attached to the floor. The sides of the pews were carved with pictures of runes, animals, and great dwarves of the past. The pews were polished with stone but also polished with fine sand and quartz dust rubbed into the stone with leather cloth. The floor was then carved painstakingly with tools and polished with stone to a fine, shiny gloss. It was then rubbed with the sharp edge of a granite stone, carefully carving lines in the floor in the pattern of brickwork. The cathedral took several years of exacting work, performed by highly skilled artisans, and the finished product, kept from the King as a surprise, brought him trembling to tears at first sight.

Agralin now had to calculate exactly how much stone he needed and how much more room he had available to him. He envisioned a great walkway to the floor below and several large workings below the floor. He arrived at a target level for the finished floor and traced a path for the ramp to arrive at this elevation. The ramp was extended and the underhalls were built. First, the festering pits were installed. A simple pit, they intersected the planned airshafts, and the dangerous, difficult job of raising the shafts was begun. Miners had to climb the walls of the narrow shaft and cling and bridge themselves to the wall as they cut seats for themselves. They sat on the seats and protected themselves with a shield wedged against the walls, and using a drill steel, they cut the rock upwards, ducking rock as it tumbled down from side to side. When they reached the limit of the length of drill steel, they climbed onto the next seat and continued the work. Seeing how difficult the work was and how time-consuming it would be, Agralin created several crews to do the same work on each level, 10 crews in all. But this required exacting surveying to assure the shafts would arrive concentrically. Falling back on his previous accomplishments, he managed to stay within several inches of alignment in each case.

The blacksmithing area and the Great Halls were mined at the same time. Many of the ramp and housing crews were finishing, and manpower was not a problem. These workings were mined below the proposed finished floor elevation, and were accessed by driven ramps. The Great Halls were to be used by the King as quarters and by his staff to govern. The main hall enclosed four huge pillars, stark and rectangular, leaving separate halls approaching the throne. He so revered the work performed on the Cathedral that he decided not to have the halls done in such beautiful fashion but left the pillars and walls squared off and only slightly smooth.

The blacksmithing area was a model of industrial design. At one end, a melting pit was formed to allow heat to be accessed to melt iron to form ingots. A shaft was driven downward to intercept some fissures, hoping to find quick access to magma. Driving the shaft was a dangerous job, as the heat encountered limited the time in the shaft to a fraction of an hour at a time, even for the hearty dwarves. But it was finally reached, and a large rock was carved to plug the opening. Following this, around the side of the shop, were quenching pits and hammer forges, used to convert iron and steel to ingots of manageable size and shape. An area was set aside for storage, then forges and bellows were used to do fine smithing. Another area was set aside for sword and axe making.

Finally the King's Walk was formed. Agralin decided it had to be impressive in both size and shape, but he had little room to work with if he wanted to save some of the floor for the shops and city. He had crews stack rock carefully, using the individual rock pieces' natural size and craggy shapes to interlock, to form three "legs" of the walk. Some of the magma, brought up in specially-treated ceramic buckets, was transported from the smithing area to be poured over the rock legs and troweled into the placed rock to form a singular set of structures. The structures were created with a natural arching shape to allow joining them together with other fitted rock. The arches were then formed, and steps were built into the lava-mortared and fitted walkway to reach to a plateau about a hundred feet above the floor. The arch was then continued to the cathedral in much the same way. The resulting figure towered over the floor of the crater, within less than two inches of designed elevation. Agralin took a deep breath and began planning the floor.

The design of the floor caused Agralin to switch from structural and geological engineering to urban development planning. The King's Walk was completed, necessitating design that complemented its size and grandeur. First, shops, dwellings and business offices were laid out to provide the best foot traffic flow possible, with an occasional donkey cart distributing goods to the stores. A plan of up to 85 individual houses, two stories each, was made with 30' roads in between each group of buildings. Several warehouses and distribution buildings were built along the east and north sides of the floor, to be used to store goods and sell them to the shops. Several gardens were placed near the "feet" of the King's Walk, and vines were planted and trained to wind up around the legs. The city streets were lined with bricks mined and cut during the excavation of the great halls, placed over a lift of compacted granular volcanic sand and leveled to within a quarter of an inch per ten feet.

Outside the crater, the main roads were constructed. They were built partly incised into the solid rock, with the cut stone used to raise the road several feet. This required more stone, which was mined from other areas to the sides of the dome. As the dome only sloped slightly away near the crater, the roads were built fairly straight. But as the roads reached the edges of the dome toward the forests, the dome became steeper, and several switchbacks were built, curving to maintain a usable grade. The rock was laid carefully, each piece cut and trimmed to fit closely with others, thereby tightening the structure, lengthening its life, and making maintenance minimal.

The cone was completed by adding simple wooden towers at three points around the circumference to be used as lookout stations.

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 80 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...