This article assumes that the characters are not using DDAL0601 A Thousand Tiny Deaths as their hook into the Forge of Fury adventure. Although that adventure is the intended path to get characters involved, the following text can serve as a secondary route to get them here!
“The dwarves were boisterous in their celebrations. Young and away from their clans for perhaps the first time in their lives, these earth-dwellers had yet to grow out their full and glorious beards, yet their bravado more than made up for the lack of actual experience. They spun glorious tales of drink and dance, of battle and blood – or was it bloody drinks and dance battles? I cannot rightly recall.
They were grand in their ambitions!”
The brightly-dressed gnome took a grand swing from his draught as Durnan coughed and rolled his eyes. Apparently this wasn’t the first time that the surly bartender had heard the tiny bard spin this particular tale.
“Durgeddin the Black – as dwarfy a name as I’ve ever heard – long ago established the hold of Khundrukar below the Spine of the World, far to the north. Too cold for most of us and too far underground for the rest, the dwarves established their citadel in the one place that they felt their sworn enemies (those stinking, vile orcs) wouldn’t look… under a rocky hill called ‘The Stone Tooth’. They named it thusly, it is said, because it looks like a broken orc tusk jutting from the earth – and really, why would dwarves live in the vicinity of such orcish glory?”
He chuckled to himself, loosed a cabbage-smelling belch, and continued unabated:
“Durgeddin was a master smith, and his people took up as his apprentices out of need for goods and a glut of resources for trade. For many years the place churned out exquisite blades and implements of prestigious power… but with that power comes recognition, and with recognition comes enmity, and who better to loathe the dwarves than their age-old foes the orc tribes? The orcs sieged the smiths for months. ‘The Smith’s War’, or ‘Durdeggin’s Vengeance’ as some called it, was a bloody and protracted battle. Much blood was shed, very sad; everyone lost.
Except the orcs, I suppose. They eventually breached the dwarfhold and looted with abandon. Drove the craftsmen out, stole everything they’d made. And why? Blood and glory, I suppose. Agents of chaos, those orcs, or Mrykul or Bane or Mask, who knows? Down to the stones they cleaned the place and this was decades ago – just imagine what has moved in now that those dwarves have been hunted to extinction.
Imagine what the orcs missed.
… imagine what the dwarves would pay to have their honor and clan holdings restored!”
Durnan looked at me plainly as I realized well after he did that my mug was empty. “Look, I’ll fill your mug if you just buy one of his maps and get him out of here” he growled as he pushed over a sloshing, frothy brew of something he generally referred to as ‘the good stuff’, and I plunked three toal in front of the rainbow-clad gnome. In return, the bard handed me a folded and dirty piece of parchment showing Luskan and Mirabar.
“The Forge of Fury, they call it now. It’s somewhere northwest of Mirabar – look for the village of Blasingdell. Little place. Great food. Horrible tippers.” He looked at me expectantly, his hand outstretched. Sighing, I placed two more toal in his grubby palm.
He beamed brightly and added: “Did you know that the dwarves have cousins covered in spines and that have a penchant for poison? Duergar. Nasty little buggers. Might want to go prepared!” These words garnered the attention of a table full of spiky-haired, dusky-skinned dwarves; Durnan swatted at the gnome and jerked his thumb towards the door.
As the colorful gnome scurried out, dodging the glares of what I only assumed to be the duergar sitting across the room, I couldn’t help but wonder… what WOULD those dwarves offer to have their lands restored? Maybe a trip to Blasingdell wouldn’t be out of the question. I mean, that last excursion Durnan pointed me towards worked out pretty well.
Tales from the Yawning Portal, indeed. Might just make a career out of this!
For the DM:
Thinking outside the box: