Tunnels & Trolls : Gristlegrim Room 466--Dwarf World

Dwarf World is entirely subterranean. There is no surface world at all, everything is buried inside rock. In this world Dwarves rule. There are also trolls, goblins, humans, and various cave crawling animals, but it is the Dwarves that rule.

When the door to Dwarf World is opened, the delvers will see a long, ragged corridor in the stone about 6 feet high and 6 feet wide-plenty of headroom for most dwarves. In the distance the delvers can hear the sharp clank of metal on stone-probably some Dwarf with a pickaxe extending the tunnel.

The very stone of Dwarf World shines with a dim blue radiance. It is dark in these tunnels, but not lightless. Dwarves in the delving party find that they can see better than they ever could in the harsh glaring light of Trollworld. The world just looks, feels, and even smells better to Dwarves. It doesn't seem all that inviting to anyone who isn't a Dwarf.

Players with a Dwarf in their party are considered Dwarf Friends. When they meet Dwarves in the tunnels they are treated courteously-that is they are treated like a Dwarf with his servants. If there is no Dwarf in the party, they are treated as intruders and potential slaves. The Dwarves of Dwarf World have no tradition of friendship with Elves or Humans. Gristlegrim rules Dwarf World also as a god-king, but he has a different name. In Dwarf World he is known as Gembeard, because hundreds of jewels are strung into his magnificent yellow beard.

If the delvers enter they will find that the tunnel curves away from its original heading until the door they entered by is hidden. In a short time they will hear a great grinding noise, like stone sliding across stone, and if they should go back, they will only come to a dead end.

The GM may place anything he wants within Dwarf World, but mostly it is meant to be a series of random encounters. When delvers enter a new tunnel, they should roll 2D6 and check the following chart to see where it leads.

  1. a Dwarven City-see Dwarven City encounter chart.
  2. the mushroom fields-great fields of mushrooms and toadstools being farmed. Giant insects the size of dogs and cats live here-roaches, beetles, hoppers. They are omnivorous and will attack delvers. Roll 2D6 (DARO) for number of bugs and 2D20 for the monster rating of each one.
  3. more tunnels just like the one the delvers start in.
  4. more tunnels just like the one the delvers start in.
  5. more tunnels just like the one the delvers start in.
  6. hungry rock troll attacks. MR equals the number of delvers in the party times 20. It regenerates 1/10 of its monster rating per combat turn. It's too stupid to run away. Special spite damage for rock trolls on sixes-when a six is rolled it breaks either a weapon, a piece of armor, or a skull. If it breaks a skull, the unlucky delver is unconscious for 6 combat turns.
  7. patrol of 2D6 Dwarven warriors in armor. They roam the tunnels randomly looking for trolls, goblins, and other monsters to kill. If they meet humans or other kindreds, they capture and enslave them.
  8. Dwarven mine. The first clue that you have found a Dwarven mine is that you meet guards and slaves carrying big baskets of ore fragments. They will be taking them to a nearby city for processing. Beyond the porters at the entrance there will be 1D100 miners, both dwarves and subject races like humans and kobolds chipping away at the walls. Dwarves mine all sorts of things; copper, iron, lead, silver, gold, mithril, coal, and jewels of all sorts. If players get a chance to mine, they should make the highest level saving roll they can on Luck to see what they get,
    • L1-lead
    • L2-iron
    • L3-gold
    • L4-silver
    • L5-mithril
    • L6-copper
    • L7-tin
    • L8-aluminum
    • L9-rare minerals (tungsten, manganese, beryllium)
    • L10 or higher-jewels.

Lighter minerals are rarer and more useful than heavier minerals on Dwarf World. Thus copper and tin are worth much more than gold and silver.

  1. a natural cavern of immense size and many chambers. There is a 50/50 chance that some kind of pool or subterranean lake with associated underground river will be found in these caverns. If the delvers find one, there is another 50/50 chance that a tribe of goblins will live on or near it. Such underground lakes are full of all kinds of creatures-death frogs, cave squid, deadlypike, poison eels, cave jellies. Plants that don't need sunlight grow all around such lakes, and there are often versions of the great mushroom forest nearby. The goblins are hardy hunters, great swimmers, masters of poison. They have held their own against the Dwarves for thousands of years. These goblins are tall and thin, pale yellow or albino, with webbed toes and fingers.
  2. a door in the rock. It is locked but a L3 Knock Knock will open it. Such doors are the exit from Dwarf World.
  3. a Dwarven fort.-a garrison of Dwarven warriors, usually 100. They are well equipped fighters, capable of dealing with most of the menaces that Dwarf World offers.

Dwarven Cities

The true cities of the Dwarves are built far, far underground. This is true in Trollworld as well as in Dwarf World-just there is no surface world in Dwarf World. They are built in huge caverns, often around a central lake. Dwarves take these cavernous wonderlands from the goblins who were usually there first, and then totally eradicate all trace of goblin living. The Dwarves are megalomaniacs when by themselves. They build huge palaces with long empty halls full of heroic statuary, usually of gigantic Dwarves slaying dragons and subjugating Men and hewing stone. They make thrones for themselves with stairways built into the back so they can climb up to a high position and look down on their supplicants. The ambition of every Dwarf is to own his own palace, and have it fully stocked with servants, but a dwarf has to be several centuries old before he/she can accumulate enough power to do so.

The streets of Dwarven cities tend to be wide avenues paved with gold. Gold is literally such a common mineral that Dwarves use it for paving and building, because it's easy to work, but heavy enough to support substantial weight. Dwarves love to drive chariots through those streets, and lacking draft animals, they are drawn by either human slaves, or powered by electric motors. Dwarves have electricity. They use it chiefly for light, heat, and motors of different sorts.

The typical Dwarven city has a lake in the center surrounded by a ring of palaces, each with its own park. The parks are full of giant mushrooms and heroic statues. Warriors patrol them and kill any pesty insects that appear.

The second ring of the city is full of shops. Craftsmen of all sorts have their home workshops where they manufacture and sell all the necessities of life. Clothing, furniture, cutlery, crockery, weapons, armor, books, jewelry, machines, gadgets, tools, motors, wire, and anything else you can think of. Dwarves have it all, and they make it all. Kobolds are excellent craftsmen, and every Dwarven master has Kobold servants-the more servants, the greater the wealth and higher the status of the master.

The third ring of the city is also full of shops, but these shops are devoted to Art. Sculptors, Painters, Dancers, Musicians, Magicians-every sort of artist lives in the third ring. These are generally poorer than the craftsmen in the inner ring-some work independently, but many simply wait out the endless years hoping for commissions from the more powerful.

Restaurants and cafeterias can be found in the second and third rings of the city. Dwarven food isn't very good. The main dish is a kind of lumpy porridge made from moss that grows on underground walls. Sometimes the broth is flavored with different mineral supplements. A high compliment for Dwarven food is to remark on its coppery flavor. The porridge is sometimes supplemented with cave fish or boiled insects. Meaty dishes like this are thought to be especially appropriate for warriors.

The fourth ring of the city contains the barracks of the warriors. These are little better than cubes of stone filled with low cots and stone chests. Dwarven warriors sleep on carved stone beds-usually of softer rocks like pumice. They cover themselves with sheets of hammered silver as flexible as cloth. The walls of the barracks are lined with weapons, mostly axes and hammers, but with the occasional knife or sword. The Dwarven military is all base 8-the squad is 8 Dwarves; the company is 64 Dwarves; the regiment is 512 Dwarves. All young Dwarves, that is those less than 256 years old, spend time in the Dwarven army. When they are not fighting, they receive training from artisans and craftsmen in hopes of rising to a hgher level of society.

The fifth ring of the city is where the slaves are kept. Their quarters are much like the soldiers' quarters, little cubes of stone. They don't get beds-they sleep on the floor. The only furniture consists of the feeding troughs, big stone v-shaped bins where their food is dumped once a day. Dwarven slaves have nothing-not clothing, not tools, nothing. They are guarded by the warriors of the army, but not too well. Even if they escape from their quarters in the city, there is literally no place in the world for them to go. The best and brightest of the slaves are sometimes taken to be servants of the Dwarves who live in the palace section of the city where they do the most menial of tasks, cleaning, carrying, rubbish removal. Those favored ones get clothing and a better diet as their reward.

The sixth ring of the city is where the smelters are. Tunnels lead out into the neverending rock of Dwarf World, and lines of slaves bring in ore in big metal baskets and boxes. The ore is dumped onto conveyer belts where it is sorted and then dumped into an electric furnace. Metal comes out molten and is made into bars and ingots. Slag also comes out, and is dumped into high hills of waste between the smelters. It provides a kind of natural fortification. Specially trained slaves watch for ore and gems. They pull them out and send them to the appropriate smelter. Each smelter specializes in different kinds of ore.

Dwarven City Encounter Chart

When a party of delvers is about to enter a Dwarven City, everything depends on whether they have a Dwarf with them or not. If not, then a squad of Dwarven soldiers will attack and try to kill or capture them. If one squad of Dwarves is defeated, then two squads will attack on the following turn. If the delvers have their own Dwarf, then they are escorted into the city. From here on, the G.M. may lead them where he wills because they will always have a squad of city Dwarves accompanying them. If the G.M. has no plans for them, then roll 1D6 to see where they go.

  1. 6th ring of the city-enter a smelter of your choice. Dwarves may take as much of any metal as they can carry, or they can take 1 jewel with a value equal to 1000 times the character's level back on Trollworld. On Dwarf World it's just a pretty rock.
  2. 5th ring of the city-human slaves. If there are any humans in the party, the slaves beg for rescue. The Dwarves of the city won't let them go, but they will sell slaves for 10 pounds of iron each.
  3. 4th ring. Soldiers barracks. No encounters in this ring, although they may pick up extra escorts.
  4. 3rd ring. Delvers meet an artist of some kind who will try to sell them some cheap art. Roll 1D6 again to determine who they meet.
    1. Painter - will do a portrait of the Dwarves in the party.
    2. Sculptor - will carve a creature for them of their description.
    3. Musician - will compose a song in honor of the delvers.
    4. Orator - will create a heroic speech about the delvers and perform it on demand.
    5. Dancer - will teach party members the current dance steps of the city.
    6. Magician - will bring statues to life, or teach low level Dwarven magic to any wizards in the party.
  5. 2nd ring. Delvers meet a craftsman of some sort. Let them choose the craftsman of their choice, although the good ones to meet would be armorers or weapon masters.
  6. 1st ring. Delvers meet an ancient Dwarven lord. Roll 2D6 once. If you roll a natural 12 you meet Gembeard himself, who will say, "you're not supposed to be here," and he will teleport you out of the Gristlegrim Dungeon back on Trollworld.

Other lords will try to recruit the delvers as followers-making them fabulous offers. Roleplay through such situations. If they cannot recruit the delvers, they will arrange an ambush for them on the way out of town. One or two squads of Dwarven soldiers should be sufficient.

Running an adventure in Dwarf World is going to be very much up to the Game Master. Just remember that the Dwarves rule. If the party has a Dwarf as a member, they get treated like princes. If they don't, they are attacked and made into slaves. Being a slave is practically a death sentence in Dwarf World, so don't let them take the delvers alive.