Gol Grungor
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"The stream of dwarven refugees arriving via boat is becoming intolerable. If this situation continues, a day will come when dwarves outnumber humans in this city. It must be admitted that the policy of demanding a high 'head tax' on all dwarven residents in Svardholm has failed - as it has been discovered on a recent raid (see Document CIsD-372, the long-time dwarven residents will shelter these refugees in secret and expand their subterranean complexes to provide additional living space. The possibility of the establishment of a 'dwarven undercity' below our streets obviously cannot be tolerated.
Currently there are ongoing negotiations with the local dwarven leadership. It is hoped that providing free train tickets to Zuidenstadt will at least take some of the new arrivals from Gol Grungor off our hands…"
- Internal Document CisD-381 of the Svardholm City Council

Capital: Gathal-Nur
Population: 5,453,210 (dwarves 91%, gnomes 4%, hobgoblins 2%, humans 1%, [halflings 1%)
Government: Monarchy with strong clan influence
Imports: Grains, agricultural products, timber
Exports: Weapons, other metallic goods

This dwarven kingdom considers itself to be the heart of all dwarven culture in the world. Its monarchy stretches back for millenniums (or so its annals claim), and everything is done "because it was always done this way". Tradition equals law.

Yet to ever larger numbers of dwarves, this reverence becomes stifling - while others, the clanless, never had a real role in the society of Gol Grungor anyway. These dwarves head out for other lands, leaving their elders to mutter and warn about the "`false temptations of the surface world"…

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Industries

Life and Society

Society in Gol Grungor is extremely stratified. There is a large number of clans bound by family ties, and each clan has an area of expertise on which it holds a monopoly. Highest in social esteem are the various craft families, such as masons, weaponsmiths, tool makers, and so on. After this come the ruling noble families, the mining and refining clans, and finally the military clans who are tasked with the defense of the realms. After this come the Clanless, many of whom provide all sorts of unglamorous but nonetheless vital services, such as farming (both subterranean mushroom farms and the surface farms in remote mountain villages - these are often worked by slaves), cleaning and other sorts of maintenance, and trade. Those convicted of severe crimes that aren't considered worthy of death or exile are also demoted to the status of Clanless, and their former families will shun them.

The only way to join a higher-ranking clan is through marriage, and even that is rarely done - the would-be status climber had better come from a clan that is nearly the equal of the clan he wants to marry into, and both he and his family need to have excellent reputations for the family of the other side to agree to this.

This lack of opportunities for lower-ranking clans, and especially for the Clanless, has bred a lot of discontent over the recent centuries. This is especially prevalent among the merchant families, who have grown extremely rich from foreign trade - but their low social esteem prevents them from having any say in political matters. Out of self-preservation, they don't display their wealth outside their own dwellings, which boast many luxuries from distant countries and would put many human merchant princes to shame. Outside their homes, a dwarven merchant who "puts on airs" will often be beaten up or worse by members of high-ranking clans if he wanders into the wrong section of a dwarfhold…

The merchants respond to the snubbing by letting no opportunity pass by to embarrass, blackmail, or ruin their "superiors". Some even go so far to deal in forbidden and highly addictive drugs. While they have no official say in politics, many merchants nonetheless amass huge amounts of influence through a hidden network of bribes and favors…

Government and Politics

Groups and Organizations

Religion

The state religion of Gol Grungor is the Cult of Harkat (another name for Hatramo), which preaches that it is the duty of every dwarf to accept the role he was born into according to his caste and family and follow the traditions even if it means laying down his life for them. Praying to other deities is strongly frowned upon by most dwarves, but significant cults to Aruk (Argannon) and Saruk (Sarush) exist, especially among the merchant class.

Important NPCs

Major Geographical Features

Important Towns and Cities

Important Sites

Regional History

Adventure Ideas

Unless the party is all-dwarven, most of Gol Grungor will be off-limits to most of the PCs. Thus, any adventuring will initially be limited to Garad-Zhakûl, the gateway city. But since that community is a hotbed of trade and intrigue, there should be plenty of possibilities for adventures nonetheless until the PCs get a good feel for dwarven culture and society, as well as the fault lines that should gradually become apparent to the observant visitor. Getting smuggled deeper into the realm by friendly dwarves is a possibility, but since this involves the risk of execution for all involved upon discovery, this is not something that should be done lightly. Another way would be doing a huge favor for members of a high-ranking clan (such as saving them from certain death) - they then might be able to grant the PCs the title of Zhârum, or "honorary dwarf", which would allow them to move freely around the kingdom. They should better be on their best behaviour then, though - the dwarves will not forgive anyone the betrayal of such a great sign of trust, and follow the offender to the ends of the world to kill him.

Designer's Notes & Resources

Dwarves are frequently portrayed as deeply conservative. But what if a dwarven society is so conservative that it becomes oppressive and stifling to a vast number of its members? That's what Gol Grungor is intended to explore. It might even become the first dwarven realm to experience a revolution…

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