On the Shoulders of Heroes
Villages: Amskea, Port Haedin, Port Kamprad, Port Waldstrom
Population: Dwarves (80%), humans (15%), others (5%).
Exports: Alcoholic beverages, precious metals, weapons and armor, hirelings.
Government: Monarchy. The dwarf king Dürir guards his people from his fortress in Ambolt.
Symbol/flag: A coin and anvil on a checkered flag.
Long before humans build the first village, the dwarves were toiling on the rocky slopes of their empire. Life in the South-East was difficult. According to legends the dwarves founded their empire more than 4000 years ago when they laid the first stones of Fort Ambolt. Since that time traditionally a monarch sits on the throne of the fort and never leaves it. Pioneering has never been part of the dwarven spirit and neither were the large families, so it took the dwarves thousands of years to expend their realm. Until this day the ancient realm officially has only two large cities, the twin cities of Ambolt and Amskea, although in the recent years a number of harbor towns have sprouted by the coast.
The dwarves of Bakkesat are a conservative people that abide by ancient tradition. A thick tome, the Wegge, contains over fifty rules which people and monarch must abide by. These rules are also carved in the massive stone walls surrounding the twin cities. Runes cover most of these barriers which are forty feet high and twice as wide. Build by the original rulers of the cities it is said that those who disobey the Walls of Wisdom risk the spirits cursing them. Goblins and orcs hate the noble, goodhearted dwarves and do everything they can to make their lives miserable. Because of their increased need for protection dwarven cities seem more like fortresses than anything else. Starting at a young age dwarves, both males and females, receive armed self-defense training. Young males serve a mandatory period in the traditional guard: the Stone Fist. Patrols take these youngsters to every corner of the realm where they meet and see other races. These experiences have goaded the first pioneers to travel West, where they met humans. The first years were full of misunderstandings, and an alliance marred by distrust, but after numerous large battles in the East human and dwarf became blood brothers and forged an unbreakable bond of trust.
Bakkesat is a compact country, between the Southern deserts and the Eastern realm of hobgoblins. It is an area plagued by heavy volcanic activity, which makes it extremely fertile and rich in minerals. The dwarves have a reputation for being warriors, smiths and miners of legendary ability.
The king of dwarves, Lord Dürir, is a middle-aged man with a long, braided beard that reaches to his knees. His eyebrows meet in the middle of his face, above a squad button nose. His eyes are a warm brown and his gaze always feels amicable, except when he thinks of, or speaks of goblins. His great grandfather, who was named Dürir also, was king when dwarves first met humans. Dürir is a famed blacksmith who specializes in crafting armors. He loves his people with his entire heart and will go out of his way to ensure their safety and prosperity. A bachelor still, Dürir has great interest in finding a suitable wife and producing an heir to the throne. The king throws as many feasts and balls as he can get away with in hopes of meeting the right woman (who should have dwarven blood).
Dwarves care a great deal for law and tradition. They tend to do good and fight evil. Like humans, they worship The Father, Ukko, but in the Wegge he is depicted as a dwarf with a long grey beard, without a wife. They consider Ilmarinen, the Creator, their chief deity as he has proclaimed himself Protector of dwarves. Ilmarinen is the god of the smithy, creations and mountains.
Places of interest
150 Men of Zorn
These immense statues represent ever vigilant guardians that watch over the border with Kesma. Carved out of solid rock they are carved to resemble giant stone dwarves, armed with hammers and shields and clad in ancient hide armor. When a dwarf disobeys the strict rules of the Wegge he is banished to the West. It is said that the statues each were carved by Mad Zorn the Beardless, a dwarf cast-out, who went insane when orcs killed his family. Why Zorn carved the statues, or when he did so, is still unknown, shrouding the silent warriors in mystery still.
Located in the far South point peninsula of Bakkesat, this swampy area is mostly inhabited by kuo-toa. Drawn to the presence of the Temple of the Seamother, these faithful servants take great pride in living in her shadow. In stories Pripp the prophet saw the Mother herself and she commanded him to build the settlement. The area is considered sacred ground by kuo-toa and they are very hostile against trespassers.
Without doubt the Brewery is the most well known place in Bakkesat. Every man in Bellög knows of the unparalleled Bakkebrew that is made only there. The Brewery is a long complex, build in a recess of the forest, which gives it a natural and merry appearance. Travelers come from all over the continent to taste the famous beer first hand. As the beer is their racial pride, the dwarves go through great lengths to guard the secrets of its flavor, which also makes it the most closely guarded Brewery on Bellög. All employees live close to the brewery which gives it the impression of a village.
The Brewing Forest is named after the Brewery which, for countless generations, has brewed the most coveted beer in Bellög. Rumor has it that some of the key ingredients of Bakkebrew can be found only here. According the old wives’ tales the forest infuses its visitors with healing power, or even prolonged life. Old dwarves still come to visit the woods, which is remarkably peaceful.
The Mountains of Zorn
These barren red peaks take their name after Zorn, a rebellious dwarf noble. Zorn was son of one of the great families of Bakkesat, with a rich heritage. His final act of rebellion was leaving his family for a human explorer. They left town and founded a family in the mountains, where they lived for a short while, until orcs came from the West and killed Zorn’s wife and infant son. Crazy with grief, Zorn cut of his beard and build 150 warriors to defend Bakkesat from further incursions from the West. For most part the mountains are extremely hostile terrain, with sulfurous springs and razor sharp brambles. Luckily for the dwarves precious metals have so far only been found in the Eastern reaches of the mountains, although that doesn’t stop crazy explorers from searching.
Fort Ash is constructed on the last accessible outcropping of the Giant Mountains. Its name comes from the volcano Asmond, which still sometimes bellows sulfurous fumes into the sky above the fortress. It was erected to be a stronghold against the persistent threat of evil that lingered in the dark crags of the mountains. Only few troops are garrisoned in the fort these days, as attacks from the mountains are a rarity these days.
Fort Bakke is an important dwarven stronghold: It closely monitors the sea and its soldiers make sure no one enters Knives Bay without permission. Serving here is still considered an honor, as many of the great names in dwarven military history have done so in the wars against the hobgoblins.
Traditionally all dwarven fortresses are crafted from stone. The location of Carfax has forced its builders to somewhat deviate from that. Partly wooden and part stone, it has a distinct look. Because of its unusual location and appearance it is one of the least respected places a soldier can be stationed. When men do end up here it is usually a punishment for disobeying orders.
After Bakke, Hamar is the largest fortress of Bakkesat. Situated next to the gorge to the West, it is responsible for shielding the country from all possible invasions from that direction, although there haven’t been any for thousands of years. It still has its purpose. however, as it restricts access to the legendary mines of Hamar, which are accessible only by royal decree. With the magical iron and adamantine from the mines some of the best armors in the world have been manufactured.
Once a typical dwarven bulwark, until a goblin shaman, by the name of Khali, performed a bloody ritual and the great Fort Mole sank was gobbled up by the earth. It has long since been abandoned by dwarves, although it is said many goblins still wander its empty halls. Legends of great wealth left in the ruins by the retreating dwarves still attract many fortune seekers.
The Tower of Dabar
This a huge black tower, situated in the Southern reaches of the Bakke Forest, overviews the grasslands that stretch from it. Dabar was once a powerful mage that wanted to perform his art without being disturbed. He summed the structure with pure energy he harvested from all creatures he could find. The land surrounding the tower is still barren, starting in a mile wide radius. Dwarves avoid coming near the tower and it is unknown if Dabar still lives, or what else has moved into his tower.
The Towering Trees
The Trees mark the tallest forest in Bakkesat, and quite possibly the world. It covers nearly half of the dwarven empire. It is divided by a deep, fast-flowing river called the Woodstream. A great variety in flora and fauna make the forest unique but dangerous, it is said many unknown monsters inhabit its shadows.