As mentioned previously, I recently started running a new Pathfinder game. It is set in Kor, an enormous, ancient Dwarven city-state.
Kor means “home” in Dwarven.
Kor is more than a city. It is nearly a nation into itself. The Open Market – where dwarves trade with outsiders – is itself larger than most human cities were… and it only occupies a corner of the floor of the enormous cavern that is Kor.
Depending upon how you look at it, Kor has either three or twelve main sections. The cavern is dominated by twelve enormous pillars – formed where giant stalagmites and stalactites merged. Each of these is owned by one of the twelve Great Clans. Within the high city, each of the pillars is capped by a huge keep. The pillars themselves are filled with passages and chambers and have structures built upon them. They serve as the homes for many of those in one of the twelve clans. The outside of a pillar might be covered with shops, artisans’ studios, cafes, and taverns run by those in the clans.
Those outside of the clans live in the Low and Middle cities.
- The Low City: This comprises the floor of the cavern. It is home to most of Kor’s large industry and the aforementioned Open Market. The Low City is loud and busy. Successful merchants and crafters may have private estates in the east, closer to the polyp farms. The western and northern parts of the Low City tend to be less desirable real estate.
- The Middle City: This is a series of walkways and platforms that cover much of the height of the cavern. They have accumulated haphazardly over time (probably expanding out from the pillars). Now, the roads of the Middle City connect pillars, stalagmites, stalactites, and dwarf-made towers. Some areas of the cavern are much more built up than others. The Middle City has, historically, been where younger dwarvenfolk proved themselves. It has also been a center of criminal activity. Currently, many refugees live there in makeshift structures (often made of canvas).
- The High City: This is carved into the roof of the cavern itself. There are few large buildings in the high city other than the great keeps, the Forum, and the Throne Hall (though these are all monumental in scope – the smallest of them being the size of a respectable surface
town). The few outsiders who have been to it have found it stark and somber, but dwarves tend to find it peaceful and beautiful.
The PCs in the game I’m running aren’t dwarves. They are members of the aforementioned refugee class – most of whom are humans.
Seventeen years ago, the sky went dark. The surface became uninhabitable and nearly devoid of life. Horrors came out from the dark corners of the world to which they had been banished.
Some few surface dwellers took shelter where they could. Kor was one of the places they were welcomed. Still, the dwarven society changes slowly… and it was not built to accomodate a sizeable minority of non-dwarves.
The game is going to focus on political intrigue, mystery, prejudice, and destiny… with a healthy dose of high weirdness.