Forges of Karak Azgal
Welcome to Karak Azgal ‘Hoard Peak’ or if you like ‘Dragon’s Crag’ – Where the Old Dwarven Ruins are open for plunder, if you can afford the price!
Nearing the far edge of Deadgate the road begins to climb the cliff face through a series of switchbacks hewn in the rock; from this distance the dwarven stonework resembles the scaled coils of a great wyrm climbing the rock to the fortress above. As you ascend the causeway you’re eventually confronted with the imposing edifice of the dragon’s head and wings, artistically defined by the very walls and towers of the dwarven citadel itself. The barbican forms the gaping maw, and to either side the curving walls slope higher, toward towers with claws; thereafter, the walls glide downward – sinking within the very mountain face to the left and right. The effigy leaves room for little doubt, of the honor Skalf’s descendants hold for their sire. The walls in general are 20’ high, and lined with a causeway, crenellations and machicolations; these same defenses line the towers, and those facing the exterior, resemble a similar rearing dragon motif.
With the dragon’s treasure at their disposal, Skalf and his descendants called upon the unsurpassed skill of their brethren to erect the formidable defenses of Kazad Migdhal, but soon you realize their efforts did extend to the city within as well. Every street within is paved with smooth, tightly – fitting stonework; curbs and gutters line the streets, and the accumulating water drops through metal grates. The buildings within are constructed of granite or marble, quarried from the mountains nearby. Most are only one or two stories, but the craftsmanship is unrivaled; exterior doors are made of stone, perfectly balanced to open with the touch of a hand. Sculptures and fine bas reliefs adorn the walls and the plazas too. Throughout the city, signs are written in the dwarven runic script – Khazalid, but the clauses are more often than not, accompanied with the fine print in Reikspiel.
Within the hold, the population is predominately dwarven and fluctuates between five and six thousand permanent inhabitants. During the day though, many residents from Deadgate enter the hold to conduct business, enter the ruins or simply have a good time.
Historical and Current Events:
With the fortune Skalf ‘Dragonslayer’ retrieved from the dragon’s hoard – he and his descendants erected a small fortress above the main entrance to the ruins of Karak Azgal. Skalf named this fortified – city, Kazad Migdhal or ‘Gatehouse Fortress’ in the human tongue, but it is more commonly referred to as Skalf’s ‘Skāfəs’ Hold; he and his direct descendants have each assumed the title of king in turn. In honor of their sire, successive kings have incorporated the effigy of a rearing dragon throughout the citadel; upon the clan’s founding (and the establishment of their authority) the Skalfson Clan assumed the device of a rampant dragon – the clan is often referred to by the epithet ‘Dragonslayer.’
It is fairly obvious to everyone that the construction and defenses of Kazad Migdhal are of the best dwarven craftsmanship, but the dwarven population remains small and they are unable to assert their authority over the realm or ruins of Karak Azgal. With the demise of the dragon, the ruins have grown even more dangerous; bands of goblins, orcs, skaven, trolls and yet more vile creatures have returned to inhabit the ruins, and harry the dwarves in their turn.
Soon after assuming the throne, the current King – Thorgin ‘Dragonslayer’ Skalfson invited opportunists (petty thieves, as many dwarves call them) to scour the ruins for treasure, his hope being they’ll dispatch many of the denizens too. Entrance to the ruins and the chance to seek one’s fortune within may be gained through the payment of the King’s Toll; any treasure recovered is subject to an additional tax upon leaving the ruins – though, all dwarven relics are immediately confiscated!
Access to, and egress from the ruins of Karak Azgal is tightly regulated by the Lawbringers of Kazad Migdhal; each member of this order is a very experienced dwarven fighter commonly referred to as a longbeard, and each was personally selected by the king to serve in this capacity…the current leader of the Lawbringers is the Thane Furagrum Kazorson.
The walled – city of Kazad Migdhal was founded above the ruins of Karak Azgal; upon a high bluff, astride their mountain pass, the dwarves regulate commerce between the Southern Badlands and Karak Azul ‘Iron Peak’. Though, there is actually only one pass through the mountain valley – the kings of Karak Azgal renamed either end accordingly: to the west of Kazad Migdhal (beyond Deadgate) the passage is known as the Dragon’s Tail Pass, and where the mountains constrain this pass – the dwarves erected the Western Toll Gate. From the mountain bluff and the East Gate of Kazad Migdhal, the winding pass descends the opposite slope of the mountain range. The dwarves renamed it the Dragon’s Head Pass, and where the pass travels between a cleft in the mountains they built the Eastern Toll Gate.
Within this mountain valley the dwarves tenuously maintain their grasp over this petty realm. With the mercenaries responding to King Thorgin’s invitation, came another clientele entirely; they recognized that greater profits would be gained in serving the fool – hardy, than actually taking the risks themselves. They established the shantytown of Deadgate, at the foot of the mountain bluff and beneath the gaze of the dwarves within Kazad Migdhal. The mountain pass running through Deadgate is a grey cobblestone street, and east of the shantytown the pass ascends a switchback causeway hewn from the very cliff face of the mountain bluff, turning upon itself three times to the dwarven citadel above.