With the 83rd Map of the Week we look inside the Dwarven Highway beneath Óšinn's Fortress in the borderlands town of Óšinn's House in the Kingdom of Slovania. This week we see an overland map showing the known path of the highway extension and the first location along the trail, the dwarven terminal.
The Dwarven Highway (Entrance in Main Palace - Location No. 3)
Most humans upon the jörš never have seen a dwarf nor have they ever heard of the Dwarven Highways. Those who have heard something of this undeground transportation network probably have their information from a skįld or a blue druid or from a third person who has heard the tales from a bardic figure. The light elves of Karelenland know of the Dwarven Highways and their tales are taught in the great school for skįldar and blue druids in the northern Kareli port town of Väinämöinen's Docks. The light elves there teach that the Dwarven Highways connect all dwarven thanedoms upon the jörš, and they also claim that even long isolated Nišavellir in the North is linked to the system. According to the bardic tales, the Dwarven Highways re a network of natural caves, tunnels, subterranean crevasses and underground river beds that are linked in many places by dwarven-built tunnels. There also are constructions away from but near the highways, where the dwarves closed other natural tunnels and passages that hostile creatures could use to enter their roadways. In earlier times, the Ęsir Austamęra god-king Óšinn Borsson had become one of the few non-Escar humans to gain entry into Midsilver Deep. While there, he negotiated with the thane Thorin Eikinskjaldi and reached an agreement that resulted in the dwarves secretly delivering iron items to Óšinn's Fortress. The dwarves built this extension of the highways to make those deliveries possible. The dwarves of Midsilver Deep abadoned this extension and magically sealed it after Óšinn and his followers left the old Ęsir Empire and migrated back to Mišgarš in the East. When the Northern Circle claimed abandoned Óšinn's Fortress after the fall of the empire, its members discovered the secret entryway to the highways in the Main Palace and began exploring it. Just as quickly, they discovered the deadly magic that the dwarves had used to protect and seal the passage. The first few explorers of the circle forfeited their lives to the protective runic staves.
However, the circle's high white druid Arnfinnur insisted that the explorations be resumed. To date, they have succeeded in exploring less than a mile/a bit more than a kilometer of the road underneath Óšinn's House. Their research remains at a dead end at the great sealed gate at Location No. 10 on the map highway map. A deadly combination of a battleaxe embedded into the gate and surrounded by runical radicals is more than the magi of the circle have been able to overcome. That notwithstanding, their research to date has given them good cause to want to explore more. Something unrelated to the dwarves has broken into the dwarven tunnels at several points and then, after leaving, has caused the tunnels of its own burrowing to collapse, making identification or pursuit imposible to date. Arnfinnur recognizes that whatever is burrowing into the highway extension might pose a serious threat to Óšinn's Fortress. No corpses have been found in the tunnel. Therefore, the high white druid assumes that whatever is doing the burrowing either is immune to the dwarven protective magic or is can withstand it.
The members of the circle will do their utmost to prevent outsiders from breaking into and entering the highway. However, if a band of human intruders should succeed, the circle will not attempt to haul it out immediately. Instead, Arnfinnur's seer, Örn, will magically observe what the intruders do and find. Only if the circle deems it necessary, will it enter, intervene and extricate the intruders. The high white druid reasons that a band capable enough to pass the circle's own powerful defenses also might be powerful enough to discover things along the highway that have eluded the circle's own explorers to date.
1. Dwarven Highway Terminal. The large hall on the opposite side of the door marked in the view of the dwarves, at least the end of their domain and the beginning of Óšinn's kingdom. The Austamęra could see into the hall, but the dwarves did not let them enter it. It could house a caravan's dwarves temporarily along with their freight wagons and the tunnel ponies that drew them. (See the terminal map.)
2., 7. and 9. Fire traps. Inscribed in the wall is the runic stave Eldrdaušiglötun. It will unleash six balls of fire upon any intruders who pass without password protection. The stave reactivates 10 minutes after being triggered.
3. Diggings. (Future Map of the Week)
4. Water and an Opening. (Future Map of the Week)
5. Twin graves. (Future Map of the Week)
6. Cold trap. Inscribed in the wall is the runic stave Ķsrlķf. Any intruders who pass without password protection will trigger it, causing the temperature along the rest of the highway extension to drop to -30°F/-34°C for 24 hours.
7. Pit and Broken Bridge. (Future Map of the Week).
8. Game master's choice. What did the Northern Circle explorers find here? This is the place where the game master can season his or her own soup.
10. The great gate. At this point the highway extension is blocked by a heavy oaken gate. Embeded in the center is a dwarven battleaxe with a head made of middle.
Key to the Dwarven Highway Terminal floor plan (Highway Location No. 1)
This location corresponds to Location No. 2 in the cellar floor plan of the fortress' main palace building of Map of the Week No. 80. The terminal was the end station for dwarves' caravans from Midsilver Deep. It is abandoned today. Except for the trap that the Northern Circle placed on the fortress' side of the door at Location No. 1 on the terminal floor plan, all doors in this area are unlocked, and there are no traps. There are no sources of illumination here or elsewhere on the mapped extension of the highway. The Northern Circle already has thoroughly searched the terminal and removed anything of value. The terminal is sturdy but undecorative dwarves stones masonry. The terminal ceiling is 20 feet/ 6 m above ground level.
1. Entrance to Óšinn's Fortress. The Northern Circle magicians keep the heavy oak door locked. They also have magically trapped the door area. More details are available in the description of the main palace's cellar level. There are no traps or other hindrances on the terminal side of the door.
2. Stable Stalls. Dwarven caravan tunnel poinies were kept here.
3. Heavy oak door.
4. Start of the highway extension.
5. Supply room. All that's left are empty weapon racks and empty dwarven schnaps barrels.
6. Officers' room. Only stone bed slabs remain.
7. Caravan riders' bunkroom. Only stone bed slabs remain.
8. Heavy oak door.
9. Beyond the terminal. The brick walls continue for 20 feet/6 m. After that, the Dawrven Highway extension is a tunnel cut through the subterranean rock and mud.
NOTE FOR FRACTAL MAPPER 8 USERS: The overland map is a zoom view of the Óšinn's House map which was released as Map of the Week No. 67. It is activated by by making visible the last four options in the layers list, all Dwarven Highway options under the menu options Maps/Layers. These layers were unintentionally omitted in the first Map of the Week release version of this map. If your version does not have the Dwarven Highway layers, you will need to download the map again in the current version.
You can get the map and dungeon plan in two versions:
1. The Fractal Mapper (TM) 8 map in FMP format, fully editable, from our Jöršgarš web page (1.3 MB - terminal only).
2. As two JPG flat maps of 3000 x 1560 Pixels and 3000 x 1515 Pixels (3.9 MB), available above.
Both versions are released for personal and commercial use under the Open Game License Version 1.0a, which you can read on the Jöršgarš website at:
The Jrgar World
Next week: Óšinn's Fortress - The Dwarven Highway Diggings