Archive for October, 2010

Karaz-a-Karak – Mining District

October 21, 2010 Leave a comment

Deep below Karaz-a-Karak mine shafts cut through the mighty Everpeak as the dwarves dig ever deeper searching for precious metals. The central hub for this operation is the Mining District of the Eastern Lower Reaches. Where the Western Lower Reaches’ atmosphere is marked with warmth, fire, and brightness, the Eastern Lower Reaches are dark, cold and dank with water dripping from the ceiling. The two key centers of the Eastern Lower reaches before one enters the endless mines are the Miner’s Guild and the Mine Junction.
The Miner’s Guild is an oasis in this dark corner of Karaz-a-Karak, a small town with places of rest, a municipal bath house, and of course the ever popular tavern, Grit and Gravel. The Miner’s Guild is a place of respite for the miners as they rotate in and out of week-long shifts. South of the Miner’s Guild is a robust dam holding back the subterranean river that flows beneath the floor of Karaz-a-Karak. Without this dam mining operations in the lower reaches would be near impossible with many of the tunnels being flooded. Day and night pumps work to drain the tunnels of their water and the dam is the only thing holding back the deluge. Down the corridor from the Miner’s Guild is the Mine Junction, an eight way rotating rail platform which allows carts to travel in any direction without a complex rail network. The dwarves operating the rotating rail platform are fiercely proud of their ingenuity. From the Mine Junction eight tunnels branch out in different directions, the one directly to the north going to the Karaz-a-Karak Station cavern, the other seven spanning out under the city. Heavily armored Iron Breakers patrol the tunnels, ever wary of a breach from the ever-present nemesis of the Dwarves, the Greenskins. Read more…

Karaz-a-Karak – Grand Station

October 20, 2010 Leave a comment

North of the Hall of Kings is the Grand Station of Karaz-a-Karak. Serving as the main artery connecting Karaz-a-Karak to the other holds to the north, south, and west, the station is a vital district of Karaz-a-Karak. Its grand role in Karak Ankor is equally depicted in its grand architecture. Massive columns line the station topped with giant braziers ever aglow. Ramps run up and down the walls of the massive cavern linking the station floor to the many levels of Karaz-a-Karak and the quarters of the dwarves that tend to the rails. In times of peace those that tend to the station and the rails extending deep into Ungrin Ankor are stout dwarves armed with massive hammers, ready to set new rail-ties and test old ones. When trouble lurks around the corner these dwarves quickly transform themselves into mighty warriors. To compliment their brothers-in-arms, the Grand Station is guarded by a regiment of the King’s Hammerers who man the watch towers over the tracks. The main track, the northern one, serves as the artery of Ungrin Ankor. The southern track is an auxiliary track linking the capital to outlying districts , guard posts in the outskirts of the World’s Edge Mountains, mine junctions deep in the mountain, and various districts of the capital. Cranes swivel between the two tracks loading goods from one to the other, be they ale from the Brewmaster’s Brewery, iron from the mines, siege weapons, or weapons of war. Galleys line the heights of the cavern and bridges span its length connecting the front of Karaz-a-Karak to its deeper districts. The Grand Station is indeed a testament to the ingenuity and architectural expertise of the dwarves. Read more…

Karaz-a-Karak – Crafting District

October 19, 2010 Leave a comment

West of the Hall of Kings is the massive Engineer’s Guild and accessible by a tunnel at the south west end of the Hall of Kings are the Western Lower reaches of Karaz-a-Karak consisting of the Library of Karaz-a-Karak and the Temple of Grungi . Following a massive ramp down from the Hall of Kings and behind equally grand doors to lower the din from behind them lay the Engineer’s guild. This grand hall is indeed a secluded society of tinkerers and siege masters.  Massive complexes are carved into the mountain composing the living quarters of the engineers and blacksmiths. In fact each complex hosts its own guild vying for the status of the grandest engineers and siege masters with the other complexes around the hall. Iron beams and cranes span the ceiling of the room lifting heavy war machines off the ground and swinging them onto waiting rail carts for shipment to the war front. Deftly flying in between the swinging chains of the cranes, newly crafted and enhanced gyrocopters circle the air firing upon hoisted targets. One particular section of the Engineer’s Guild prides itself in making the finest rifles in all of Karak Ankor. The Engineer’s Guild is ablaze with life, and any invading force will find these are no meek blacksmiths, but instead proud dwarves armed with the deadliest of siege implements and rifles.
The western edge of the Engineer’s Guild opens unto a massive chamber with spouts pouring forth molten lava cascading down into chasm of fiery heat. Directly below the Engineer’s Guild and also linked to this molten chasm is the Temple of Grungi of the Western Lower Reaches. Access to the Western Lower reaches is via the south western tunnel in the Hall of Kings through the Library of Karaz-a-Karak, fiercely defended by the rune priests of the city. The Temple of Grungi itself is hardly what one would expect a temple to look like, but rather, much like the Engineer’s Guild, a vast hall with dwarves sweating over anvils pounding various war implements into a finely crafted shape. The hall has four grand statues of Grungi carved into the four corners, and from each statue pours forth a stream of lava to the center of the hall where it plummets down a bottomless pit glowing with fiery heat. Suspended over this pit on the strongest chains in all of Karak Ankor is a platform with an Anvil of Doom. Channeling the fiery powers of the mountain, rune smiths embed weapons with powerful master runes.
These two grand halls, the Engineer’s Guild and the Temple of Grungi, form what is known as the Crafting District. Whether it be grand cannons, flying gyrocopters, sleek rifles, shields the size of a dwarf, or weapons of war glowing with the energy of powerful runes, the implements of war pour forth from this district. Read more…

Karaz-a-Karak – Valaya Plaza

October 18, 2010 Leave a comment

East of the Hall of Kings lay the Valaya Plaza, a small town within the great capital of Karaz-a-Karak. In ancient times of peace and prosperity the Valaya Plaza was the economic hub of Karaz-a-Karak. Merchants from all around Karak Ankor would come to the Valaya Plaza to showcase exotic wares and exquisitely crafted arms and armor from precious metals. Every day was a different spectacle of glistening shields, mighty hammers, and foreign fabrics. The market square of the Valaya Plaza however was but one section of this prestigious district. Circling the square were dozens of inns for weary travelers. In the southern corner of the district lay the Oath Vault, a massive repository of gold and heavily guarded bank whose vaults penetrated deep into the earth where few were privileged to enter.  To the north of the Oath Vault lay the Oath Hall, a massive building carved into the mountain serving as the guild quarters for the elite warriors of the High King. And at the far north of the district lay its most famous attraction, the Brewmaster’s Brewery.
Founded by the most famous brewmaster of all, Joseph Bugman, the brewery is not only where famous ales are produced, but also the most lively tavern in all of Karak Ankor. Tables carved by master carpenters circle fireplaces and braziers carved by master masons. To have a piece of ones work in the Brewmaster’s Brewery is the greatest honor for any trades-dwarf, and for many of the guilds of Karak Ankor, it is indeed the requirement for a journey crafts-dwarf to get a work of theirs in the Brewmaster’s Brewery; only then can they become a master of their guild. It is rumored that every now and then Joseph Bugman returns to Karaz-a-Karak to make a special patch of brew, but when it is no one knows. Read more…

Karaz-a-Karak Introduction

October 17, 2010 Leave a comment

Karaz-a-Karak, ancient capital of the Dwarven kingdom of Karak Ankor and seat of High King Thorgrim Grudgebearer. Karak Ankor, now a shadow of its former glory, once stretched all along the Worlds Edge Mountains and Black Mountains, even to the Moutains of Mourn. However, with the Sundering and the constant incursions from Skaven and Greenskins, the Holds began to fall. Less than a dozen holds remain in Dwarven hands along the Worlds Edge Mountains and Black Mountains; all the holds far away from Karaz-a-Karak are considered lost. Karaz-a-Karak, which means Everpeak, lies at the junction of the Black and Worlds Edge Mountains and aside from Karak Azul and the seaport of Barak Varr, it is the southern-most of the existing holds. All the remaining Holds are connected by a vast network of tunnels called Undgrin Ankor. From here the army of Oathbearers marches forth to avenge the most recent and damning grudge, the fall of Karak Eight Peaks.

Using what information I have, I have concluded that the Dwarven capital of Karaz-a-Karak existed in the game prior to launch and was actually completed before the Inevitable City and Altdorf and then was removed from the game. In my version, Karaz-a-Karak exists as a functioning capital with merchants, bankers, trainers, etc. In the Age of Reckoning the Greenskins have overwhelmed Karak Eight Peaks and push north to Karaz-a-Karak penetrating the massive Dwarven Hold through the tunnels beneath the city. With the limited knowledge I have of Karaz-a-Karak and pen and paper I give it a skeleton. I shall attempt to use what limited pictures of Dwarven architecture that exist to give it a skin. The rest we must leave to our imagination. Read more…

Lothern – Phoenix Throne

October 16, 2010 1 comment

The heart of Lothern and Ulthuan, the Phoenix Throne, lay behind massive walls on eastern edge of Lothern. The massive citadel is an intricate complex of passageways and corridors. Three massive gates open unto the north, west and east, while the southern entrances open to the terrace of the Palace Gardens. In times of crisis, all four ground level entrances are sealed by powerful wards and the only access to the Royal Complex and the Hall of the Phoenix Throne is through the lofty Phoenix Tower which is connected to the central tower of the Shining Guard Quarters.
The Phoenix Throne marks millenia of history of the Phoenix Kings, a history far more ancient and recorded than any other race. Unlike other kingdoms which are more fragmented and only a loyal core of guards protect the king, the Phoenix King is protected by all of Ulthuan. From the White Lions of Chrace to the taciturn Phoenix Guard, the corridors of the Phoenix Throne are a microcosm of Ulthuan. Read more…

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Lothern – Council Quarters

October 15, 2010 3 comments

Nestled in the north-eastern corner of Lothern lays a small district of the most importance. Here three large towers are connected forming the Council Quarters. These are the noble elite who advise the Phoenix King and see to the administration of the realm. Though more or less temporary apartments for the nobles when they visit the city, they are nonetheless a home away from home, lavishly furnished and formidably guarded.
The ‘central’ of the three towers, acting as the center of the spokes, is the tower of the Shining Guard Quarters. It is part of a larger complex which is in many ways a fortress, the last bastion of the city. The bottom levels of the Shining Guard Quarters are full of barracks, map rooms, and a grand hall. The subterranean levels house the kitchens and armory. The Tower itself is the heart of the complex, the very soul of the Shining Guard. This tower is of greatest importance, for from it one can gain access to the three adjacent towers when their ground level entrances are on strict lock-down and sealed by mighty magics.
The north-eastern most tower is the Dragon Tower, guest residence of the Princes of Caledor. The tower is divided into several levels, each an apartment for a visiting Dragon Prince and their beast. The grandest accommodations lay at the top of the tower with a grand balcony fit for the mightiest of dragons.
These two towers are vital arteries protecting the Phoenix Throne, and though the Lothern Sea Guard and the Phoenix Guard have their roles in protecting the city and the Phoenix King, the nobles of these towers are charged with the protection of Ulthuan and the Asur. Though an enemy may defeat the Phoenix King, they will never rule Ulthuan so long as noble blood flows through the Asur. Read more…

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Lothern – Academy

October 14, 2010 4 comments

Rising in the southeast of Lothern, the Tower of Teclis rivals the size of the Tower of Hoeth; though it is not taller, it is many times larger. Situated along the coast, the archmages of Lothern have their own exclusive corner to pursue their studies, yet still fulfilling a key defensive role. Here where the presence of the Lothern Sea Guard are weakest, the overall defenses are strongest. The tower gains its namesake from its inhabitant, Teclis. Though the Tower of Teclis is the dominant feature in this quarter of Lothern, it is but one part of the Academy. The Academy of Lothern consists of the massive Tower of Hoeth, Isha’s Sanctuary, Asuryan’s Spire, and the Library of Lothern – four elegant structures representing the wisdom of Ulthuan. Teclis is said to be the most powerful mage in the world, equal to the younger generations of Slann of Lustria and Nagash the Black. A descendent from Morelion, son of Aenarion the first Phoenix King, noble blood flows through his veins, and for this reason a price hangs over his head. Powerful forces from around the world from Malekith, Witch King of the Dark Elves, to N’kari, Keeper of Secrets, despise Teclis and want nothing more than his death. Yet, his powers in combination with his brother Tyrion have proven to be a match none can equal. The two brothers together are the greatest champions of Ulthuan. The Tower of Teclis is one of the largest in Ulthuan, rivaled only by the Tower of Hoeth in height. The tower is a tiered structure. At ground level the plaza of the Tower of Teclis spans out merging with the broad avenues of the city. The bottom tier is accessible by the massive staircase leading to the top or a lofty bridge from Isha’s Sanctuary. The bottom tier itself is a vast plaza of the tower consisting of dozens of gazebos, fountains, statues and benches – it is a place where the archmages of Lothern rest their turbulent minds. It is said that mighty vaults within this marble plaza house valuable artifacts and the very essences of the Winds of Magic. Dual spiral staircases lead to the second tier of the  Tower, the Tower Patio, where massive doors ring the tower granting entrance to its grandeur. The tower itself is divided into seveal floors, with Teclis’s chambers at the very top. Though possessing far fewer magical tomes and artifacts than the Tower of Hoeth, its foundation of magical knowledge is far greater in its key asset – Teclis. The sister structures of the Tower of Teclis are Isha’s Sanctuary and Asuryan’s Spire, both elevated on a large plateau and inaccessible from the ground level. The only structure of the Academy on the ground level is the Library of Lothern, and thus it is the only structure accessible to the common folk of Ulthuan. Four distinct groups of mages act as stewards of these four buildings, each strong in their own way. Asuryan’s Spire is a tall thin tower bursting with the flames of the most powerful deity of the Asur. Isha’s Sanctuary on the other hand is a small wide tower surrounded by a plaza teeming with life, from lush plants to energetic animals. A wide bridge connects the two plazas of Isha’s Sanctuary and the Tower of Teclis. Read more…

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Lothern – Silver Helm Stables

October 13, 2010 Leave a comment

Tucked in the south-western corner of Lothern are the mighty Silver Helm stables, where the mightiest steeds of Ulthuan are raised and trained for war. The Silver Helms consist of the sons of nobles of Ulthuan named for their ilthilmar helmets which they decorate with various trophies from their exploits; they are the heavy cavalry of the Asur. Though they are of noble blood, the Silver Helms when in training are treated like regular soldiers; and so they learn to live a tough life in times of peace so that when war threatens Ulthuan they are not longing for the comforts of home. While the Silver Helms rest in tents, their steeds reside in magnificent stables fit for nobles. The Silver Helm Stables are a small town within the great city of Lothern with a small army of blacksmiths and stable-hands tending to the great beasts. Few outsiders choose to enter the Silver Helm stables for it is a tight-knit fraternity with a somewhat exclusive air about it.
It is said that due to this common sentimentality towards mighty beasts, the White Lions of Chrace, the personal bodyguards of the Phoenix King, also choose to reside near the Silver Helm Stables. Though the Silver Helms are a proud breed of knights, they fear and respect the White Lions who freely walk among the stables with their lion-skin pelts on display. The Silver Helms believe that the White Lions commune with their mighty steeds and fill them with the spirit of the fallen lions and thus a strange brotherhood is formed between the humble Chracian axe-men and the noble Silver Helms. Read more…

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Lothern – March of the Asur

October 12, 2010 Leave a comment

Spanning from West to East across Lothern, the March of the Asur is a wide boulevard bisecting the city. From the West Gate beyond the twin towers of Aenarion and Astraielle one enters the Bel-Korhandis Plaze surrounded by four massive estates of the powerful noble houses of Lothern, each proudly housing many generations of High Elves. Each manor denotes centuries of High Elf prominence proudly displayed in the elegant architecture. Housed in the various estates are potent magical relics from the various exploits of the nobles; it is said that these various relics harness the powers of the gods of the world.

Magically levitating at the center of the plaza is an awe-inspiring tower divided into three tiers. The top most tier is an intricate aerie left to the mighty eagles of Lothern from which the tower derives its name. The middle tier is a beautiful marble plaza surrounded by a colonnade and an exquisite balcony – it is at the center of this floor that the eldest High Elves tell tales of grandeur to the youth of Lothern and for this reason is is noted as a tower of wisdom. The lower tier is a crystalline hemisphere containing a magically replenishing pool of water which constantly cascades down onto the shrine below it in the plaza. Though the Eagle Tower floats at the center of the plaza, sunlight mysteriously bends around it and fills the entire plaza so that the Eagle Tower casts no shadow. The Eagle Tower is only accessible via the shrine when the eight winds align and empower the font of Hoeth within the shrine.

Continuing east beyond the Bel-Korhandis Plaza down the March of the Asur one catches a glimpse of the Phoenix Throne and its lofty Phoenix Tower to the north. Then one enters a long tunnel spanning the length of the Phoenix Throne under the Palace Gardens. Though the Gardens are restricted to the noble elite of Ulthuan and prominent dignitaries, the common High Elf can briefly bask in their glory as they walk down this tunnel of grape-vines. The entire length of the tunnel is a grape-vine trellis allowing fluid transit through the city from east to west along the March of the Asur, but it is a distinct feature of the Palace Gardens.

The Palace Gardens are a walled labyrinth of nature’s beauty opening unto beautiful groves and meadows; it is said that the walls have a mind of their own and magically shift at their own will changing the course of the labyrinth daily. At the center of the labyrinth is the Pool of the Asur and a beautiful tower which floats above it. The pool is said to be a collection of the tears of Isha and it is to have the strongest healing properties known to Ulthuan, yet if the waters are taken beyond the walls of the labyrinth they vaporize. To the north of the labyrinth a beautiful terrace and small fountains lay over the March of the Asur, the fountains constantly giving nurturing waters to the grape-vines below.

Exiting the grape-vine trellis tunnel of the Palace Gardens a traveler emerges upon the Phoenix Guard barracks and the East Gate. Read more…

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