Scales of War
The city of Overlook stands on the eastern slopes of the Stonehome Mountains, a hoary range of crumbling peaks as old as the world. The city’s founding lies sometime far back in the mists of time, at a point after the dwarves in this region threw off the shackles of slavery and chased the giants and orcs west across the mountains at the end of the Age of Chains. Overlook, and the fastness of Bordrin’s Watch, were raised to safeguard the liberated dwarf peoples and to be the first line of defense should their ancient enemies forget their defeat and seek to enslave the dwarves once more.
Since its founding, Overlook has never come under attack, though Bordrin’s Watch has time and again, at least once every century. Overlook supplies the mountain pass with soldiers, supplies, and needed resources, ensuring the Watch is never without the goods they need to live up to their ancient responsibility. While doughty dwarf warriors hold the Watch, the city is far more cosmopolitan and includes peoples of nearly every race and culture known in this corner of the world. Dwarves are still the dominate group, but humans and halflings make up a close second, followed by dragonborn, tieflings, and a smattering of eladrin and elves, and an assortment of other, less familiar, races.
Overlook is largely a trading center, and people on both sides of the mountain come to the city to exchange goods, rumors, and information. The city’s numerous markets and bustling streets makes it the ideal place to do business, thus characters in search of a particular tool or device are more likely to find it here than anywhere for miles around.
Supplementing its trade is a robust mining industry. The mountains are rich in iron, silver, tin, and no few gemstones. Dwarf and human miners and prospectors set out from Overlook each day, some working in the blackness of the deep mines, while others scour the heights in search of treasures—some succeeding, others failing, and others still vanishing in the misty peaks never to be seen again.
Although the city depends on Bordrin’s Watch to endure most of the attacks from the west, the city is not without its own defenses. The dwarves erected steep walls to protect themselves, but as the city outgrew its original protections, the inhabitants raised more walls to encircle the growing population. So far, this has happened four times, giving the city four sets of walls, one inside of the other. The shantytown, the unofficial ninth district, grows beyond the eastern walls and it’s just a matter of time before the Council decides to raise another wall and add those squatters to the rest of the city.
Piercing each wall, on both the western side and the eastern side, is a large gate flanked by two square stone towers. Most times, the gates stand open, even in the dead of night, but when trouble looms, such as now, the gates are closed at dusk, and the inner gates—the ones leading into High Hall—might close even earlier.
The outer walls are 100 feet tall,—taller where they travel over higher elevation. Each inner wall stands another 20 feet tall. Guards patrol the walls infrequently, though the gatehouses are held by a half-dozen warriors.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Blister, Boneyard, Elftown, Forgeworks, High Hall, Nine Bells, Stonehammer, Tradetown, Shantytown (unofficial).
Belden’s Rest; Cadrick’s Boarding House; Clean Sheets; House of Sleep; Mountain’s Hearth; Polliver’s; the Turned Spoon; and numerous others.
Coxcomb Spirits; Dergan’s XXX Brewery; Michael’s Blond; Pickled Imp; Pig and Bucket; the Salty Mug; and numerous others.
Dungeoneer’s Survival Emporium; Elsir Consortium; Merty’s; Stonehome Treasures. Temples: Divine Knot (various); Shrine of Erathis; Stone Anvil (Moradin).