Monday, July 29, 2019

The Fortress of Dhalinax

The tharch of Gauros, updated to show created settlements

Alignment: LN
Races: Rashemi, significant dwarves and gnomes are commons slaves
Classes: Fighters, clerics, rangers, rogues and experts common
Temples: Helm, Oghma, Shar, Tempus
Shrines: Auril, Beshaba, Grumbar
Age: Historical
Reputation: Tolerated
Virtue: Hope
Vice: Sloth
Recent Event: Imbued With Evil
Desires: Necessities
Security: Nearly Impenetrable
Access: Major Hub
Repair: Luxury
Impression: Too Quiet
Sanitation: Tolerable
Lighting: Poor
Streets: Tile

Once an abandoned, historic dwarven fortress, Dhalinax is now the northernmost town in Gauros. It bridges the gap between the Sunrise Mountains and the nearby hills, serving as security between Gauros and Rasheman. It is also a gate of trade between Gauros and Surthay, as well as the drow outpost below the shores of Lake Mulsantir. It serves as a launching point for expeditions into the mountains and the Gorge of Gauros. There are several great main gates on either side which require heavy-duty mechanisms to open; they are made of layers of stone and metal and benefit from magical wards. The machinery was based on old dwarven designs but has been updated with gnomish ingenuity, and it is no surprise that there are more dwarven and gnomish slaves than are typically found elsewhere in Thay.

The fortress is locked in a vicious cycle of feast and famine. At times, it is overcrowded with adventurers and merchants flush with currency and goods. At other times, the vaults are mostly empty and those who live there ration necessities. It survives because it is strictly organized by the temple of Helm, which has the greatest influence on the populace. Everyone who shelters within its walls must donate time and services to the upkeep of the fortress. All visitors are apprised of this before they are allowed inside. If they refuse to serve, they are turned away, but if they wish, they can trade their service for room and board. The central garrison has a system of task boards and tokens to keep track of chores, and an interview matches a person’s skills with a set of duties.

Given its location, the fortress does not enjoy the full protection of the Thayan weather net. It’s believed that the Red Wizards see little use in protecting the mountain range, especially when bad weather will help hamper escaping slaves. While the worst conditions remain in the peaks (hail, blizzards, avalanches, and anything else Talos can send through the porous net), the fortress is known to be colder than most places in Thay. The great vaults are not temperature controlled, but the rooms which line the vaults are warmed through magic or mundane means. Locals tend to wear layers as they venture from one side of the fortress to another and then shed them once they’ve reached their destination.

A stream from the Sunrise Mountains has been routed to serve as the fortress's main water source, emptying into a magical pit that stores the excess. Altogether, the fortress is impressive, with marble tile floors, high arched vaults lined with terraces, as well as a series of elevators that are operated via a blend of magical and mundane means. The lowest levels are forbidden to most (requiring permission from the mayor and/or the temple of Helm), and while justice is swift for offenses, it is not as inhumane as elsewhere in Thay. 

This is because there is more of a focus on order and efficiency than kindness and cruelty, and this attitude even extends to slaves. They work hard but they are allowed more freedoms in their spare time. They can craft, cook, brew, and so on, so long as they do not work against Thayans or Thayan interests. As a result, although the slave district is in the dankest part of the fortress, it has an engaging blend of styles, scents, and sounds. Visitors and inhabitants alike venture there for experimental gnomish cuisine and dwarven specialties. Slaves who follow the gods represented in local temples and shrines are allowed to worship at these official spaces. (In most of the country, slaves worship on their own and must construct their own shrines out of detritus.)

All in all, a visit to Dhalinax is a memorable experience, if one has occasion to go there.

No comments:

Post a Comment