Scales of War
This city of stone stands on the side of the Stonehome Mountains. Constructed as a haven for newly liberated dwarves from their former giant masters, Overlook has since outgrown its noble roots and become a haven for peoples all over the Elsir Vale and beyond.
Population: 12,250; about another 5,000 people live in small settlements scattered on the lower slopes. The people of Overlook are mostly dwarves, humans, and halflings, though pockets of dragonborn, tiefling, eladrin, and elf communities are isolated in their own ethnic neighborhoods. Overlook’s importance as a trade center results in great numbers of travelers from faraway lands and of a wild assortment of races, cultures, and beliefs, lending the city its cosmopolitan atmosphere.
Government: The Council of Elders, a group of five male and female dwarves, governs Overlook. Each is elected to office and serves a 10-year term. The dwarves see ruling as a burden and none relish the job, preferring to hand power off to someone else. Heading up the Council is the Great Elder, Morgoff Stonefirst, an aging dwarf who’s ready to retire. One representative from each of the eight districts of Overlook attends the Council, serving as advisors and also to air the grievances of their particular constituencies. Although these individuals have the power to influence, they have no real authority in the city, though many are wealthy and powerful by means other than the office they hold.
Defense: Overlook keeps a standing garrison of 150 warriors armed and ready for any threat. In times of trouble (such as now), Overlook can muster another 500 warriors from the local militia, and another 100 from the outlying settlements. At Bordrin’s Watch, another 500 hundred warriors protect the mountain pass from within its steep walls and skyscraping towers.
Districts: Blister, Boneyard, Elftown, Forgeworks, High Hall, Nine Bells, Stonehammer, Tradetown, Shantytown (unofficial).
Inns: Belden’s Rest; Cadrick’s Boarding House; Clean Sheets; House of Sleep; Mountain’s Hearth; Polliver’s; the Turned Spoon; and numerous others.
Taverns: Coxcomb Spirits; Dergan’s XXX Brewery; Michael’s Blond; Pickled Imp; Pig and Bucket; the Salty Mug; and numerous others.
Supplies: Dungeoneer’s Survival Emporium; Elsir Consortium; Merty’s; Stonehome Treasures.
Temples: Divine Knot (various); Shrine of Erathis; Stone Anvil (Moradin).
Locations of Interest
1. Dwarfroad The old Dwarfroad emerges from the Elsir Vale and climbs the slopes of the Stonehome Mountains, moving through Overlook and ascending up to Bordrin’s Watch and down the other side into the badlands beyond. The old road is far older than Overlook, having been paved during the Age of Chains by dwarf slaves for their giant masters. After the dwarves successfully rebelled, the Dwarfroad served as a primary trade route for the old dwarven kingdom that followed, but over the last century or so, goblins, bandits, and worse, have made travel along it perilous. Still, closer to Overlook, the road is somewhat safe and folk near the city still make use of it.
4. Mountain’s Hearth Just inside the east gates and facing the old Dwarfroad is a three-story inn named the Mountain’s Hearth. Famed for its clean and neat accommodations, fine meals, and pleasant staff, the Hearth is one of the more popular stops in Overlook. The dwarf matron Reggen runs the place like clockwork, and her persistence and dedication has paid off.
5. Pig and Bucket One of the Blister’s most famous dives, the Pig and Bucket is a one-story tavern squashed between two boarding houses of ill-repute. Most of the tavern consists of the beer hall, where booths line the walls, and row tables and benches fill the open area in the center. A wooden bar, replete with names and curses carved onto its surface, runs along the back wall, where a dozen casks hold a variety of beers. Adventurers and mercenaries loiter in the Pig and Bucket, because it’s a good place to find work and exchange news. Merchants, wizards, and shady types drift in and out the bat-wing doors day or night, so one doesn’t have to wait long before someone blows in with a job offer. Kyle Rester cultivates this atmosphere since he was an adventurer in his youth. His bright red hair has gone to gray and his freckled face is creased and wrinkled with age, but he’s competent and knows his way around a sword.
13. Shrine of Erathis In the heart of Tradetown stands a small shrine dedicated to Erathis. Little more than a covered altar, littered with stubs of incense and scraps of paper containing prayers offered up by locals for good fortune, and a large idol of the goddess looking off to the horizon, people come here throughout the day or night. A gentle old woman named Haelyn attends the shrine and accepts tithes from penitents and those seeking the deity’s blessings. Haelyn might know a few rituals to remove afflictions, but she is not, in fact, a cleric.
15. Stone Anvil Easily one of the largest buildings in Overlook, Stone Anvil is a grand cathedral dedicated to Moradin. The church’s foundation extends deep into the earth, where copyists work to transcribe the holy texts of Moradin, write holy books, and compile ritual books for the clergy. Some say these cavernous vaults hold far more than the legion of scribes and that ancient relics from the Age of Chains are buried in the deepest of vaults.
Above, stone walls assembled from blocks of stone larger than many homes climb far above the bridges and buildings of Stonehammer. Its uppermost levels are studded with leaded windows that sparkle in the sun, each of which is shaped to resemble hammers. Doors to the worship hall rise 40 feet and require six dwarves to open or close them such is their great weight.
The Stone Anvil is open to all who would pay homage to Moradin, but its placement in the city as well as an unwelcoming atmosphere results in its congregation being nearly all dwarves. The current high priest is Durkik Forgeheart, and he has served three decades. Durkik, a dwarf, began his career as a pious servant of his god, but years of corruption, wealth, and status have chipped away at his idealism, leaving him grasping and opportunistic, which makes him little better than any of the bureaucrats choking the life from the city.
The party found a connecting portal from the Stone Anvil to the Mountainroot Temple inside an ancient burial room.
18. Elsir Consortium Forty years ago, a group of merchants set aside their differences and combined their businesses to found the Elsir Consortium. Their unified front allowed them to expand their individual markets to nearly every community in the Elsir Vale until a decade later, and they have emerged as one of the most powerful commercial forces in the region. Ever since, the Consortium has only grown larger and more successful, which is a fact not lost on the folk of Tradetown and elsewhere who have begun to resent the Consortium’s influence. Overlook houses the Consortium’s warehouses and production facilities in Elftown. Fronting these buildings is a small shop that provides goods, weapons, armor, and other materials (none of which is magical) at a 10% discount below those prices listed in the Player’s Handbook.
21. Caer Overlook (Government) Rising above all the other districts and buildings in the city is Caer Overlook, a sprawling fortress of stone hauled out from the depths of the earth from the very mines the dwarves excavated during the dark days of their enslavement. The castle consists of eight round towers arranged in a star pattern surrounding a central keep capped with a domed roof. Hedging in all the towers and the keep is another stone wall, taller than the wall bounding the High Hall, and it raises 200-feet tall.
Inside, the same degree of artistry appears throughout the building, from the brilliant tapestries to the inlaid stone work covering the floors, and statues of the courageous Firstborn who sacrificed their lives to liberate their kin. All this, inside and out, pales before the brilliant majesty of the Council Chamber: the High Hall. This magnificent room measures 200 feet in diameter with a great dome overhead. A dais, raised 20 feet above the echoing chamber, holds the five high-backed chairs for the councilors. The floor around the dais is polished to a mirror finish to reflect the mural on the dome overhead. In it, one can see an artist’s rendition of Moradin’s wrath against the primordials, telling the story of the god’s gift, the betrayal, the Age of Chains, and culminating in the dwarves’ liberation.
22. Ministry of War The Ministry of War is more compound than single structure, consisting of six buildings arranged inside a walled-in courtyard. Three buildings are barracks for the garrison that protects and patrols the city. The fourth serves as an armory and smithy, producing weapons, ammunition, and armor for recruits. The fifth building houses the officers quarters, while the sixth contains the officers of the War Minister. The Ministry of War produces both soldiers and watchmembers, and their training regimens are nearly identical. The Ministry accepts most candidates provided they are fit and able, but it allocates recruits to the city watch or garrison. Some candidates, no matter how eager, are refused. Topping the list are gnomes, any goblinoids (reformed or not), orcs (and their kin), and any other individual that lacks the strength, discipline, or ethical substance to serve.
24. Divine Knot The Divine Knot is the name given to the nine temples filling out the northwest corner of the Nine Bells district. Each temple is a grand house of worship designed to honor the gods, but is marred by the squalor and filth contaminating this district. For years, the priests worked to clean up their environs but frequent failures have chipped away at their resolve, leading a few of the temples to close their doors (specifically Ioun, Moradin, and Pelor). The rest—Avandra, Bahamut, Erathis, Kord, the Raven Queen, and, oddly, Zehir—remain, but with small clergies and smaller congregations. If the scale were not impressive enough, the architecture in the details establishes the fortress as one of the greatest in the lands. Carvings, engravings, and bas-reliefs adorn the walls, capturing moments of dwarven history and inscribing those grudges to which all dwarves still cling. Scrollwork bears threats and promises, vows of vengeance against orcs, giants, and anyone or anything else that had wronged these people.