The Call of Afeon
Black Rock Mountain
Black Rock Mountain is the largest dwarf city in Afeon. It is the center of government, manufacturing, and culture for all dwarves, and is a veritable fortress, extending deep below the surface.
Black Rock Mountain is a city of levels. The distance from one end of each level to the opposite edge is not exceedingly far, perhaps five miles, but the city is a dwarf city, and like most dwarf cities, what it lacks in width it makes up for in depth. The top level has buildings up to five stories tall, because humans sometimes stay there overnight and the typical 5-foot ceiling of a dwarf home would be a bit uncomfortable for most humans. The levels below the surface have shorter ceilings so they can fit more floors into a single level. Winding through the center of Black Rock is The Great Staircase. This staircase leads from the top of Black Rock all the way down to the bottom. It is seldom used, however, as just going between floors is daunting. Instead, a series of enormous elevators take citizens between floors. These elevators have seven floors and can hold a staggering number of people. These elevators are operated using the other elevators as counterweights, using excess heat from the forges on the manufacturing level as power.
The top level of Black Rock is home to a large marketplace. This market is where dwarves typically make trade with caravans of other races. The entrance to the city is a massive stone door that can be dropped into place at a moment's notice, preventing any access from the outside. Also on the top floor are several inns and bars where travelers can get a good night's rest before heading out again in the morning.
The second level is where much of the manufacturing takes place. Enormous forges allow the Dwarves to work almost any metal on Afeon with little trouble. Every dwarf can smith, but this level is where the real mass production happens. The few housing districts on this level are low-rent, typically for the poorest of dwarves.
The third level is mostly housing, where dwarves who aren't rich enough to ive in the deeper levels live. There are some small markets and forges here and there, but the only people who tend to use them are the people who live on this level.
The fourth level consists of the major market where trade happens between dwarves. This is also the floor where the Thoroughfare barges depart to other cities. A large part of this floor is taken up by the great loch, which allows barges arriving from other cities to be lifted to the market level and unloaded before heading back out again. What little housing is here is set ino the walls and is mostly for those trade barons who like to be close to their wares.
The fifth level is two thirds as big as the levels above and below it. A large section is walled off for the great loch. The remaining space is more or less middle class housing. Those who can afford to live this deep, but who aren't so right as to reside on the seventh level.
The sixth level is where barges coming from other dwarf cities arrive. A large part of this level is the harbor, which houses the barges waiting to be taken up the loch to the market level. This is also the level that houses the great pumping machinery needed to fill and drain the loch, as well as the pumps that provide water to the Thoroughfare. Branching off from this level are the foot-tunnels leading to the mines and other nearby settlements.
The seventh level is where the nobles of the dwarf nation live, including the current Under King himself. The property values are insane, as dwarves want to be as deep as they can be, though no one is allowed to live under the Under King, as he is the deepest dwarf in the nation.
The dwarves mint most of the gold coins in use across the continent of Afeon, though each city has their own currency, dwarf gold is accepted everywhere. Black Rock Mountain isn't the only dwarf settlement that trades with the surface world, but it is the largest. A city like Black Rock needs a lot of food to sustain itself, so traders often come to the city with foodstuffs to trade for the quality metalwork that comes out of the city's great forges. On the lower levels, the dwarves trade with other dwarven settlements, using gold as the only currency. Shipments arrive each day from a variety of other settlements through the Thoroughfare tunnels. Similarly, shipments leave from the market level to other cities quite often.
The Under King of the dwarves lives in the deepest level of Black Rock Mountain. He is the last word for all matters both domestic and foreign in his nation. The dwarf cities were united long ago and they have been a strong nation ever since. All dwarf settlements have the right to secede from the kingdom should they wish to do so, but none have taken that option, as they would lose any sort of military protection given by the King.
Dwarf families in Black Rock Mountain typically consist of one or two generations living in a household, with close ties to their relatives. Enormous family gatherings happen often, and are loud, boisterous affairs with drinking, games, arguments, and even fights breaking out between the various branches of the family gold vein. In the community, dwarves are very polite to their own kind, often saying hello to everyone they see on the street. Of course to outsiders, this can look strange, since "hello" in dwarfish tends to be a grunt and a brief nod. To the outside observer, dwarves tend to look much more gruff and moody than they really are, especially in their home environment.