Tipping the Scales of War
The Lost Mines of Karak
The city of Overlook stands at the base of the Stonehome Mountains at the farthest western reaches of the Elsir Vale. This age old redoubt was the center of the ancient dwarf kingdom that once dominated the Vale, but which faded into obscurity generations ago.
Though little is remembered of this lost kingdom, its folk ventured far and wide in their day. One dwarf clan, the Ironfell, made forays in search of mineral wealth in the deserts beyond the Thornwaste to the southwest of Elsir Vale. There, they established a mine they called the Karak Lode, after the first dwarf of Clan Ironfell to fall in its defense.
Over long years, Karak became a legendary source of wealth as its folk pulled rich deposits of gold, silver, and other precious metals from beneath the desert sands. A supply depot was established at the desert’s edge to service the caravans traveling between the mine and Elsir Vale, but the location of the Karak Lode was kept a closely guarded secret. Only oathsworn members of Clan Ironfell ever made the final leg of the journey across the sands.
Dwarves hold their secrets close, and their grip is doubly tight where wealth is concerned. So it was that Karak’s secrecy eventually became its downfall. Under the pressure of monstrous marauders, famine, and migrant human tribes, the dwarf kingdom of Elsir Vale declined. As its resources were taxed past the breaking point, the kingdom’s borders began to contract until little more than the territory immediately surrounding Overlook was left. In time, sandstorms struck the southern wastes and the Karak supply depot was abandoned. Soon, all contact with the mine was lost, and the Karak Lode was consigned to history.