Scales of War
Overlook is one of the most interesting features of the Stonehome Mountains, but it isn’t the only one. Ruins of the old dwarven kingdom dot the peaks for hundreds of miles to the north and south, while old caves lead to tunnels worming through the rock. Closest to the Overlook, though, the land is safer and is home to numerous villages and other places of interest.
- Armistice: Purported to be the site of victory of the giants and orcs, here the freed dwarves signed a compact of peace that would bind them into one nation. Now the kingdom is no more, so Armistice is just a relic of the past filled with old codgers who think back on better days.
- Bordrin’s Watch: Straddling the old Dwarfroad is a mighty fortress that was raised to control traffic across the mountains and protect the Elsir Vale from attack. Bordrin’s Watch contains one of the three access points to the tunnels beneath the mountains. The stronghold consists of a long wall, which is 150-feet tall and over 80 feet thick at the base, and it is punctuated with steep towers fitted with arrowslits. Battlements cap the wall, allowing sentries to watch the pass and defend the fortress from attack. Atop each tower is a pair of catapults. Ballistae and scorpions are positioned every 40 feet along the wall’s length. In the center of the pass is a massive gate. Its doors stand 100-feet tall, and it takes 40 aurochs to pull them open. The gatehouse surrounding the doors consists of two towers, each as tall as the wall and wider than three standing towers together. Bordrin’s Watch can accommodate 3,000 soldiers on the walls and in the towers, but the grounds on the eastern side of the pass can hold up to 100 times this number if need be. Granaries are replenished each season, fed by towns, hamlets, and communities all under Overlook’s protection. The stores can keep a modest-sized force fed and watered for up to six months without needing to resupply. Like the Monastery, the Watch contains a secret staircase that winds down into the mountain and connects at a large room called the Nexus. There, soldiers at the Watch could move beneath the feet of their enemy and strike them from behind. This passage hasn’t been used in centuries and only a scant few know of its existence.
- Elsir River: The headwaters of the Elsire River flow in a series of waterfalls that drain the mountains back into the valley to the east. West of Sodden (see below), the river is too rough and hides too many rocks for boats to navigate, though from Sodden, one can travel across the valley, going as far as Brindol.
- Feud: Two dwarf families dominate this tiny hamlet and, as their name indicated, they are prone to violence. The only thing they can’t stand more than one another is outsiders.
- Hope: Another speck of a town, Hope appeared after prospectors found a vein of silver nearby. Once the vein played out, most of the miners moved north to Armistice, but a few stubborn folk live here still, working the mines in search of precious metals. Travelers have reported that something is not right with these people and there’s a feeling that the citizens of Hope are hiding something sinister.
- Lantern: A minuscule settlement of just fifty souls, Lantern is little more than a logging camp.
- Monastery of the Sundered Chain: About eighteen miles southwest of Overlook stands the old Monastery of the Sundered Chain. Raised to house an order of holy warriors in service to Moradin, the templars have largely withdrawn from Overlook, seeing the city as having lost its identity. Even though the relationship is strained, the monastery and the city remain allies. The monastery contains one of three access points to the tunnels beneath the Stonehome Mountains. The templars are reputed to be the only ones with the knowledge of how to close off the tunnels.
- Myler’s Stone: This town was once a large city, but years of decay, disease, and tragedy reduced the place to a handful of desperate people eking out an existence in the ruins of the past.
- Old Den: A trade depot used by rangers and elves alike, this site is a cluster of wooden buildings surrounded by a palisade.
- Shackles: Overlook’s sister, Shackles was a powerful city and was the former capital of the fallen dwarven kingdom. It fell nearly two centuries ago when the orcs sacked it before the kingdom could respond.
- Sodden: A small town at the headwaters of the Elsir River, this is a quaint community of farmers and fisherfolk. They work well with the elves, which is perhaps the only thing that stops the elves from erasing Lantern altogether.
- The Vents: Natural fissures vent steam from a superheated underground lake. The tunnels are dangerous since they are also choked with foul monsters of the Underdark, dangerous flora, and vicious fauna. For more information on the Vents.
- The Westdeep: This dense forest grows in the narrow depression between the Stonehome and Wyrmsmoke Mountains. A dangerous place, several tribes of xenophobic elves live here, and they do not take kindly to trespassers. Conflict between the loggers at Lantern and the elves has come close to open war, and it’s known that if the elves attack, the dwarves will be forced to respond.