Tome of Dorgoth

Castle Krikk

Castle Krikk is the name of an ancient fortification, built by dwarves in King's Swamp soon after the War of the Sisters. Originally named Khandar's Blessing, it was claimed by the hobgoblin Krikk in the late ninth century and was kept as a base of operations for the Krikk clan until into the tenth century. It kept its name even after the departure of the tribe.

History

Construction of Khandar's Blessing commenced in 45 LC, by dwarves, gnomes and, to a lesser extent, elves who stayed in the King's Swamp region after the War of the Sisters. The full building was finished in 47 LC. In 80 LC it was one of the last bastions against marauding orcs and fell during an attack by the orc Thurbynn Tribe.

In its short history, Khandar's Blessing was home to several legendary heroes. Baraknir Arutan developed the martial style Daragunar there, together with the mad cleric Silverbeard Thorgōn, who had famously spent a year in the World Beneath. The elven mystic Leshemeth maintained a shrine in Khandar's blessing, advocating a triad of Ush, Khandar and Llorix.

The Thurbynn orcs massacred all inhabitants of the castle in 80 LC and looted it as much as they could, but they did not occupy the fortification. Instead, they chose to roam King's Swamp and use their mountain camps as headquarters. The castle was therefore left deserted and remained so for centuries, becoming overgrown by the nearby forest. During the ninth century, however, occupants showed up: hobgoblins from the north started squatting the building. In 889 LC, the hobgoblin Krikk crowned himself king in the castle and sent a message to Prydissir, claiming the region of King's Swamp as his. The elves never responded to this message, which he interpreted as cowardice and as a sign he could have the region.

For years, Krikk leeched off the growing presence of humans in the region, who had come to resettle Pellvyr in the eighth century. His territory had expanded through the forests and swampland and in 902 LC he made an agreement with Blue Death, a servant of Morsyana, in which he vowed to put his power at her disposal in return for troops and weaponry.

As part of this deal, his goblins captured the dwarf Gondwen Huckstone in 903 LC, because Blue Death needed his information on the location of Bothandal's Mine, consisting of an ancient elven map and the way to decipher this map. King Krikk kept Huckstone at his castle, attracting a band of adventurers who had set out to save the dwarf. Through the use of bardic magic, the group managed to rescue the dwarf and take the ancient map.

Layout

Khandar's Blessing was built using the seven-tower structure common to elven fortifications, but using harder thicker rock from the nearby Thracyll Mountains, albeit rounded according to elven design principles. The castle had four western towers, two eastern towers and one central tower, with the highest, narrow lookout tower being the western one. From this tower, the canopy to the west and north could be overseen, allowing for communication with any reinforcements from Dathyll.

The most northwestern tower, just north of the lookout tower, was the broadest one and housed a throne room for the commander of troops, Ludakin Bardor, as well as sleeping rooms for the soldiers. Besides this tower, the central defense tower housed active troops guarding the fortification at the north side of the castle. East of this tower was a library tower, which was built to accommodate the collected magic and lore from overrun settlements in King's Swamp. On the second floor, this library originally housed Leshemeth and Silverbeard Thorgōn.

South of this library stood a central kitchen, which was accessible by a nearby entrance to the building. The kitchen itself could be easily guarded through three arrow slits, securing this entrance from the east. Again south of this kitchen was a main defense tower, guarding the terrace entrance to the castle at its south side. A mirrored tower of this main defense tower stood to its west, carrying the depiction of a bearded lion embossed in its solid stone.

Just north of this western tower, close to the narrow lookout tower, stood a guarded, low tower. This contained a large shrine hall to the gods, originally maintained by Leshemeth. Central to this shrine hall were large statues of Llorix, Dorgoth and Khandar. Alcoves displayed statues to Waye and Ush. The shrine doubled as a sleeping hall for the soldiers: its high ceilings did not allow for a second floor. It also provided access to the 'basement' of the castle: an underground cavern and lake, from which a gnome Sukkenpomper 1600-X drew water to supply faucets in the kitchen, shrine hall and lookout tower.

The rooftop of the castle was accessible through the defense towers and lookout tower and offered tactical positions for ranged fighters.

Secrets of the Castle

The throne, which was made out of solid rock and contains an embossed illustration of dwarves, elves and gnomes together battling orcs and goblins, stands on a series of plateaus and is actually a gate to a secret passageway. The illustration shows Ludakin Bardor commanding his troops, and if his face is pressed, the throne rises through a mechanism built by gnomes, providing access to a ladder leading down into a narrow pit. Five meters down, a horizontal crawling space leads southwards and, after some twenty meters, into a narrow chamber. Baraknir Arutan hid magic items here when the Thurbynn orcs overran the castle, to keep them out of the hands of the pillaging orcs. Among these are his own shield, instilled with a powerful protective magic, manuscripts by Silverbeard Thorgōn, Leshemeth and himself and a relic from the World Beneath.

Baraknir could not secure everything, though, and rare manuscripts and powerful items are still hidden among the rubble and deserted rooms, unexplored by the hobgoblins and goblins of the Krikk.