This fortress is named for King Adbar, the ancient dwarf who built it over 1,000 years ago during the waning years of ancient Delzoun (the dwarven North kingdom), making this the last shard of the dead dwarven kingdom. Quarried of granite, the Citadel, whose gate tower is visible above the surface, can house up to 60,000 dwarves in comfort; men find its miles and miles of defensive granite corridors, tunnels, and hallways twisting their way under the Ice Mountains too dark, dreary, and cramped.
This dwarven city doesn't welcome visitors. This is not surprising, as most visitors are orcs or monsters seeking the swift death of its citizens. The Citadel is a fortress, perhaps the mightiest castle north of Amn. It has ditches that can be filled with flaming oil, bridges that can be drawn up or swung down into deep pits, concentric rings of walls that can be defended one by one in the event of a powerful besieging army, and so on. The Citadel has withstood over 60 orc horde attacks thus far. Each of these were determined sieges by over 10,000 orcs at a time, and occasionally 10 times that number.
Despite its forbidding ways and remote location, Citadel Adbar is a trading city. Around 14,000 dwarves dwell here, forging and smelting finished work from ores. Their work creates quite a din and clangor, and a permanent cloud of smoke hangs over the city. These factors make a visit to Citadel Adbar very unpleasant for most folk. By and large, only metal traders and the most desperate or daring peddlers go there.
Founded nearly eighteen centuries ago, Adbar has stood strong against every threat from every foe, and stood fast, to the great pride of the dwarven people. Adbar has stood as the living monument of the Northkingdom – it was the main fortress of Delzoun when that empire fell, and became even more important to dwarfkind as they were overrun by orcs, goblins, and myriad other forces.
The recent orc-wars cost the kingdom dearly, both in warriors and leadership. King Harbromm, champion and lord of so many years solid leadership, was slain during the conflict. The crown passed jointly to his twin sons, who shared the rule wisely, until Bromm was slain by a dragon. Now, young King Harnoth has rule of the ancient citadel.
King Harbromm is noted for his attention to strategy and detail, and he is a master smith. The city's badge is his personal forge mark: an upright, single-bladed hand axe enclosed by a circle of flame inscribed in red on a silver field. He's managed to hold his community together in the face of threats from the orcish tribes.
The fortress humans see is only the small surface part of an underground dwarven hold known as Adbarrim. The Citadel exists to provide a secure connection with the world above and to keep the smoke, noise, and stench of metalwork out of the dwarven homes. Miles upon miles of chambers, passages, and suites have been carved out of solid granite. Like other dwarven communities in Faerûn, the number of dwarves here has been steadily dwindling.
The king employs human adventurers in patrols outside the walls, and he keeps 200 dwarves on the battlements of the Citadel. Another 1,500 are ready to take up arms if the horn call is sounded through the speaking tubes cut in the Citadel's rock. These tubes also allow dwarves to flee quickly underground by tumbling into them. In a day, Adbar can arm and armor 9,000 dwarven warriors. Harnoth's policy is to safeguard the lives of his folk and to keep inside the Citadel whatever befalls. No army from the Citadel will sally forth to do battle with orcs or to aid other communities.
The Iron Guard
The main army of Citadel Adbar is worn away thinly by the Many-Arrows war. When Harbromm led them onto the field of battle, they were nigh two thousand in number. After the war, they were scarce half that. Though their numbers have been brought back up in recent years, their recruits are more smiths than warriors, entering service out of duty rather than desire for battle.
The Knights of the Mithral Shield
The elite royal guard is much decimated. In his grief, King Harnoth led the knights onto the field of battle to vent his rage. A combination of ill-advised assaults, grief-maddened tactics, and sheer bad luck have winnowed the number of this once revered knighthood to a mere two dozen dwarven knights.
Places of Interest
The citadel itself is carved out of the mountain. Those approaching the surface keep find the structure to be modest and unassuming – it is referred to as Adbarrim. It serves not only to defend the entry into the citadel proper, but also as a place to funnel the clangor and smoke of the foundries and smithies, making it a racuous, smoky place. Beneath the citadel are the foundries, with ever-burning fires and white-hot forges where the Adbarrim dwarves work their crafts. Those who are new to the city are advised to find a guide, as the citadel has active traps and deadfalls intended for invaders. All of the locals and frequent visitors know them (or know how to identify them), but there is no sympathy for newcomers who might wander into them.
A maze-like set of tunnels exists below these, where the dwarf-folk make their homes. These mazes open into lavish complexes – even the poorest Adbarrim often have a half-dozen or so rooms in their dwellings. These tunnels are the results of ancient mining efforts and are usually terribly confusing. This is the main level of daily life in Citadel Adbar. The lower levels of this open into a flow of strong water, which turns the Great Wheel. It not only turns to provide power to the foundries and a few other mechanical marvels, but it also provides a great deal of the water, pumped into cisterns and pressure-wells that provide running water and plumbing to the folk of the city.
In the deepest parts of the citadel lie the mines. By law, the mines are off-limits to visitors, including non-Adbarran dwarves. Today, these mines produce mostly iron and precious metals, with most of its mithral veins tapped out.
- Hall of Moradin's Forge: Temple to Moradin. In the deeps of the citadel, not far from the Great Wheel, is the central temple to the Mordinsamman.
Two trade routes exist on the surface. Both start at the gates of Citadel Adbar but split very soon after that. One, barely more than a trail passes through Cold Vale to eventually reach Silverymoon. The other travels for a short way to join Fork Road, at The Fork allowing access to Ascore at one end of Fork Road and Silverymoon at the other. Surface traders bring fresh produce to Adbar and return with metals and dwarven craftworks.
No matter where they come from – whether above ground or below it – all routes into the citadel lead to the Caravan Door. A massive pair of iron doors, this gate has never been breached. All visitors who come into the city come through this passage.
As it is, only metal traders and the most desperate or daring peddlers attempt to reach Citadel Adbar. Ironically, since raiding orcs, prowling crag cats and other predators make the land around the Citadel so deadly, most caravans travel through the relative safety of the Underdark via Sundabar, Mithral Hall and even distant Mirabar. Caravans that survive the long and dangerous journey bring mainly grain and dried fruits and vegetables that the Citadel is incapable of producing. Fresh fruit, which the dwarves delight in eating during the winter, fetches the highest price.
Every year more than one caravan was lost in the Underdark but those who are successful are richly rewarded. The dwarven smiths here make the best dwarven weapons and armor this side of the Deep Realm. All goods made in Citadel Adbar are considered masterwork and commanded premium prices throughout the North. In addition most of the forge bars (blocks of refined metal) used by quality smiths in The North are from Citadel Adbar. The dwarves continually mine mithral as well as other precious metals, but the recent opening of long-abandoned Mithral Hall had made the largely mined-out mithral deposits of Citadel Adbar less important.
A well-guarded route runs through the Underdark from Citadel Adbar to Sundabar and also provides access to the Everfire. Once every four years at Shieldmeet, a dozen master craftsmen are chosen by the king to make the perilous journey to the forge at Everfire. They are each given an entire year to create a single magical weapon or piece of armor commissioned by the king for an undisclosed champion of Citadel Adbar. These priceless artifacts are presented to the most deserving defenders of the city, as chosen by the king, and are almost always dwarves (however at least one dwarf friend had been awarded this great honor).
“For Adbar! For Harnoth! For the sons of Moradin!”
Citadel Adbar's agents are no shadowy, secretive force. They are proud shield dwarves who wear the red-axe-and-flame of Harnoth proudly. These are dwarves who take great pride in the history and traditions of their people, and they have sworn to keep it alive at all costs.
Agents of the Citadel can occasionally be found outside of the Citadel proper - they are usually on official business of some sort, even if they are also tending to personal affairs. King Harnoth knows the strengths of his advisors, clan elders, and chief military personnel very well, and is skilled at leveraging their strengths to the Citadel's benefit. To outsiders, the agents of Citadel Adbar seem almost stereotypically dwarven: doughty, sullen, mistrusting of non-dwarves.
Goals and Philosophy
For a long time, Adbarrim-folk have thought of themselves as the last bastion of dwarf-kind in the North, the final home of the shield dwarves. While there are other places that boast small communities of Moradin's children, Citadel Adbar is a proper dwarf-hold, of the kind that once held power across the North in ancient days. These tales of ancient dwarf kingdoms, of long lineages of shield dwarf heroes, and of the glories done in Moradin's name are more than just stories to agents of Citadel Adbar: they are ideals to live up to and goals to achieve once more.
True agents of Citadel Adbar hold to the following tenets:
- Loyalty to Citadel Adbar comes first, for loyalty to the Citadel is loyalty to dwarvenkind in the North.
- It is not slavish obedience that King Harnoth wants, but strong and willful dwarves of noble temperament who wish to do what is best for all of Moradin's children.
- The safety of dwarvenkind is paramount - outside allegiances, personal concerns, and the drive to accumulate personal wealth and power must all fall to the wayside when the lives of dwarves are at stake.
The tasks given to Harnoth's most trusted vassals are many and varied. Literally anything that might be needful for the survival and prosperity of the Citadel and its folk is fair game, and Harbromm trusts the most delicate and dangerous tasks to his most trusted advisors and agents alone.
Quests undertaken by agents of Citadel Adbar might include the following:
- Leading a fighting force to clear orcish raiders out of the trading routes through the Deep Realm.
- Diplomatic missions to other nations to help acquire new trade.
- Missions into ancient dwarven ruins, to recover lost artifacts and lore of ancient fallen Delzoun.
Agents of Citadel Adbar in good standing might receive the following benefits:
- A Place to Call Home: Rank 1+. Those in Harbromm's service are ensured basic living quarters so long as they are in Citadel Adbar, equivalent to a Poor Lifestyle expense for free. Those who live more grandly may reduce their lifestyle costs by 2 sp per day. This is upgraded to Modest and 1gp discount per day at Rank 3+, and Comfortable and 2gp at Rank 6+.
- Lore of the Elders: Rank 3+. You have access to the body of dwarven elders, an august gathering of esteemed scholars, historians, and sages, well-versed on those topics dealing with dwarven history, culture, and theology.
- A Royal Gift: Rank 3+. You receive a suit of adamantine armor or mithral armor as a gift from King Harbromm.
Some of King Harbromm's agents are given titles in accordance with their role within his court. These titles come with responsibility as well as rewards.
- Iron Guard: Members of the Iron Guard are dedicated warriors. Those trusted enough to hold positions of command must pass muster with King Harbromm directly, however, becoming agents. These war-axe-wielding, plate armor-wearing warriors are very distinctive.
- Iron Guard Second Axe (Rank 1+): Those responsible for commanding smaller units of Iron Guard. Each Second Axe is given a command of twenty dwarves, and they are responsible for the training and maintenance of that unit, and for seeing that the orders of their First Axe is carried out. Unlike other Rank 1 agents, Second Axes are given a salary that ensures they can live Modest lifestyles.
- Iron Guard First Axe (Rank 2+): A small council of lieutenants to the Master of Axes, the First Axes oversee numerous units, with Second Axes as their subordinates. A First Axe is awarded one of the distinctive greataxe +1 wielded by the First Axes of the Iron Guard.
- Iron Guard Master of Axes (Rank 3+): The general of the Iron Guard and the warrior invested by King Harbromm with responsibility for the safety and security of Citadel Adbar as a whole, this appointment of the Master of Axes is always a great honor and a wearying responsibility. The Master of Axes wears a distinctive suit of dwarven plate, given to him for the duration of his service to the Citadel. He also sits on the King's Council.
- Clan Masterwright: Rank 3+. The finest of Citadel Adbar's craftsmen are given great respect and accord by King Harbromm, who takes their advice as part of the so-called Council of Anvils, a political body made up of the finest craft-masters in the Citadel, who speak on behalf of their clans.
- Clan Elder: Rank 3+. Each clan is run by a single dwarven patriarch or matriarch, who oversees the prosperity of their clan's place within the Citadel. Those elders are appointed not by the clans themselves, but by King Harbromm, who chooses the most politically savvy and wisest-seeming of the dwarves of an eligible age and rank within a clan when its previous elder passes away. Clan Elders are supported by the King in a Wealthy Lifestyle within the clanholds of Citadel Adbar, and they have access to the wealth and talents of an entire clan of dwarves within the Citadel.
- Curate: Rank 3+. The priests of the dwarven gods must be politicians as well as holy folk, seeing to the Citadel's proper observances of the needs of the Morndinsamman's theology. The truly gifted - whether for political acumen, dwarven wisdom, or as one of the Called - often rise to the rank of Curate, giving them a seat on the King's Council. There is always one priest of Moradin as a Curate, and anywhere between two and four others at any one time. Curates are supported by the temples in a Wealthy Lifestyle, and have access to a small arsenal of magical items and the talents of the Called aligned with their various institutions.
- Royal Councilor: Rank 3+. Those who sit on the King's Council come from a variety of backgrounds. There are warriors, adventurers, craftsmen, priests, and many others, all joined in singular purpose: to give the wisest advice they can to King Harbromm as he shepherds dwarf-kind in the North to a future of prosperity. Royal Councilors are supported in Wealthy Lifestyle as long as they remain in Citadel Adbar.
- King Harnoth: King of Citadel Adbar (Rank 4). x
- Elili Blackbanner: Master of Axes of the Iron Guard (Rank 3). x
- Garala of Moradin: Curate of Moradin (Rank 3). x
- Ahmadar Darkfell: Runemage of Citadel Adbar (Rank 3). x
- Farbena Foehammer: Elder of Clan Foehammer (Rank 3). x f
- Yurdak Trueforger: Elder of Clan Trueforger (Rank 3). x
- Umirin Blackbanner: Elder of Clan Blackbanner (Rank 3). x
- Dwila Narlagh: Elder of Clan Narlagh (Rank 3). x f
- Yurlond Quarrymaster: Elder of Clan Quarrymaster (Rank 3). x
- Bofthal Rockfist: Elder of Clan Rockfist (Rank 3). x
- Helthic Stoneshield: Elder of Clan Stoneshield (Rank 3). x
- Thraerl Watchever: Elder of Clan Watchever (Rank 3). x
- Delauk Wyrmslayer: Elder of Clan Wyrmslayer (Rank 3). x
- Yurra Worldthrone: Elder of Clan Worldthrone (Rank 3). x f
- Urnient Arnskull: Elder of Clan Arnskull (Rank 3). x