Saturday 29 March 2014

The Bitterstone Dwarves

On G+ +Chad Rose wrote:
How much would the Dwarves charge folks wanting to use the Undermarch, the underworld trade route, for travel between Anvil and Forge? I mean, they have maintenance and security to think about after all and that ain't cheap.
This got me to thinking, not really about how much - but to whom you would pay, and why. I've reposted my thoughts here so they more permanent and accessible.

The Bitterstone Dwarves

The dwarves of the Bitterstone clan have controlled the majority of the Undermarch passage for nearly 500 years. The rights to levy the travellers on the inhospitable and forlorn route was gifted to them by the Dwarf King, seen by many as an act of punishment for Oaths long broken, a punishment because, as every dwarf knows, those who would make a living from taxation and at the expense of others labour are amongst the lowest of dwarven society. And no dwarf has ever, or ever would, dare refuse a gift from the Dwarven King.

The Bitterstones have grown rich by burdening a heavy toll on those who would attempt to travel through the Undermarch, it has has brought them little discernible comfort however, as other clans are loathe to openly ally or trade with 'Coin Crows' let alone those who do it with such fervour and greed.

And so they have grown angry and resentful, rich in purse yet poor in soul, ostracised from their kin and perpetually consumed by a cycle of taxation and hunting those who would attempt to avoid their tolls - of which there is no short supply. In fact that such a volume of people are willing to risk death or worse, in order to avoid the draconian overlook of the Bitterstones has prompted an explosion in people daring enough to guide the poor - or those too miserly to pay the Bitterstone's their due through the warren like passages that make up the  Undermarch.

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