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The city of Darmouk

Posted: Fri Jan 09, 2015 4:54 pm
by LoZompatore
Just to add here a bit of information found in the Dragonlord Trilogy book 2 ("Dragonking of Mystara") about the last city of the pre GROF dwarves, a settlement called Darmouk.
Note that the text below is set around AC 500, so all references to the renegade dragon Kardyer should be retconned according to this date.

...he (Thelvyn Foxeyes) descended quickly from a high pass in the eastern mountains of Rockhome, just above the cool, wet lowlands of the Northern Reaches... The land belonged to the greatest of all the renegade kings (of dragons)... The sourrounding mountains were steep, stark, and barren, all the same dull gray-brown in color. They descended into a great valley, shaped like a long oval basin set amid the mountains, filled with dense woods of tall pines with short, sparse branches that somehow always appeared wet and forlorn, as if they had just endured a terrible storm. In the very center of the valley, almost completely surrounded by a cluster of lakes of still, oily-looking water, stood a short, saw-toothed ridge of dark stone that resembled the plates of a dragon's crest...
...Although the desolate land seemed to have remained empty and silent since the beginning of time, a forgotten city of the ancestors of the dwarves lay somewhere beneath the ridge.
The forgotten city was not hollowed out from the great ridge of stone rising from the center of the valley, but instead it was far below... Some called it Darmouk, the ruins of the last surviving city of the dwarves after the fall of Blackmoor. The dwarves themselves believed that Kagyar had created their race to cope with the new world created by the Rain of Fire.
The entrance spiraled down into the dephts... The entrance passage opened at last into a series of large chambers that once served as the final line of defense against invasion, and these in turn opened into the immense main chamber of Darmouk itself...
The main chamber of Darmouk was so vast that it made even the caverns of Dengar seem small in comparison. Unlike Dengar, it wasn't a natural cavern but a single, immense, carved chamber, perfectly oval in shape, five miles in lenght, and more than two miles wide. The ceiling rose more than four hundred yards above the terraced floors. Great arches of white stone supported the curved dome of the ceiling. Even as formidable as this underground city was, the great destruction of the Great Rain of Fire nearly ruined it. The tall, graceful building had mostly collapsed in wreckage during the fall of Blackmoor, and two large portions of the ceiling had collapsed when the supporting beams failed, crushing large parts of the city beneath landslides of stone.
Darmouk had lain abandoned and forgotten for centuries. In recent years, it had been rediscovered by Kardyer, one of the largest and strongest red dragons in the world. He was also a sorceror so skilled in magic that his abilities rivaled those of a gold. In his long life he had sat on the Parliament of Dragons. But five hundreds years ago, he had gone mad, defeating a series of young rogues and renegades one at a time and binding them to his will until a band of twenty-six dragons recognized him as their king.
Moreover, he had gathered a small army of orcs and goblins to serve him, raiding westward into Rockhome, south into the Emirates and east into the Northern Reaches to enrich his treasures.
The main doors of the palace stood open before them. They looked about for a moment, suddenly aware that this wasn't a palace of ancient kings but the forgotten sanctuary of an Immortal. Great bearded images of Kagyar stood on guard on either side of the steps leading up to the doors.

The following info may be extracted:

1) Darmouk was built before the GROF by the Kogolor dwarves and it seems to be the only dwarvish settlement able to survive the Cataclysm. According to HW boxed set, when Kagyar decidet to create the modern dwarves he "took up all the dwarves on the world" so, likely, there were small groups of dwarves scattered throughout the world which survived the GROF. They could likely live in small settlements or move in nomadic bands, but the only true remaining city of the dwarves left would be Darmouk.

2) Assuming the shape of the cavern approximates an ellipse, the total surface of the settlement should be around 8 square miles.

3) The city was built wit "tall, elegant building" on a terraced floor which rises up to 400 yards. Assuming a New York City - like population density of 25'000 people per square mile, the original Darmouk poulation could be as high as 400'000 (assuming the entire surface is filled with high-rise buildings and large stocks of food are stored in the settlement). Assuming that intensive high-tech 20th century agriculture is performed to keep the settlement autonomous (this is definitely the situation after the GROF) then the famous "1 acre feed 1 person" formula may apply, leading to a population not larger than approx. 5000 people. This final figure seems to me more in tone with a dwindling people poisoned by the deadly energies of the Cataclysm.

4) Darmouk was built in the eastern mountains of Rockhome, very close to the pre-cataclysmic north polar opening (if the info of having the old north polar opening in the Ethengar Khanates is accepted). Why was it built there? Likely for the same reason real-world bases in Antarctica are built. It is also possible that Darmouk was a mining center to extract precious metals and minerals in a lightly exploited region. The faraway location with respect to the bulk of Blackmoor civilization is possibly an explaination of its survival of the GROF.

5) The Kogolor dwarves of the Outer World were followers of Kagyar even before the GROF or before being transplanted to the Hollow World (this may seem obvius, but it is not explicitly stated anywhere on the other supplements, to my knowledge)

6) Modern Rockhome dwarves seem not to be very much aware of Darmouk. Maybe it is due to Kardyer presence, which infest the place since AC 0 or, maybe, there is a religious prohibition or other sort of taboo (set by Kagyar or Denwarf) to enter the valley and the ruins. It is also possible that the city was emptied of all the useful and interesting machineries by the first generations of modern dwarves to help shaping Rockhome. Anyway, in my opinion, it is far more interesting to have some Blackmoorabilia still hidden inside the ruins (the buildings below the two collapsed sections could be good candidates for a deep search) and an enterpraining group of dwarves (plus other adventurers) interested in finding the entrance to the ruins despite the lack of information and any ancient taboo. It would be a good adventure plot.

7) What if the flying city of Serraine (which crashed in the Altan Tepes during the GROF) was some kind of freighter/passenger vehicle used for regular service to/from Darmouk? It is also possible that the flying city was manned by surviving dwarves who tried to reach Darmouk shortly after the GROF but crashed in the polar lands some hunderd of miles before the city. The surviving dwarvish party may have tried to reach Darmouk "on foot", if they ever managed to reach it.

Re: The city of Darmouk

Posted: Mon Jan 12, 2015 12:20 pm
by Havard
Thank you so much for bringing this up!

This adds another chapter to the history of the Blackmor era dwarves. I really like the idea of the Serraine Ship being on its way to Darmouk when it crashed. That would also help connect Darmouk, Serraine and Blackmoor even more.

More on this later :)


Re: The city of Darmouk

Posted: Wed Jan 14, 2015 10:33 am
by Sturm
This was also discussed here: viewtopic.php?f=63&t=9014&p=112489&hili ... uk#p112489
And I suppose Chimpman used the location for Yardrak in his Shimmering lands work:

Re: The city of Darmouk

Posted: Sun Nov 08, 2015 9:55 pm
by Havard
I am thinking this city could hold the lore of Blackmoorian Dwarves later forgotten by Mystara Dwarves. Information about the old Dwarven Pantheon for instance as well as various devices built by dwarves, histories, lore etc.


Re: The city of Darmouk

Posted: Thu May 25, 2017 9:54 pm
by Chimpman
Is there any information out there about how far down this cavern is?

Re: The city of Darmouk

Posted: Sun May 28, 2017 2:31 am
by Yaztromo
LoZompatore wrote: Blackmoorabilia
:cool: :cool: :cool: :cool: