23
May

Frontiers – New Bronok

   Posted by: Andrew Linstrom   in Frontiers

On the farthest edge of the western frontier, nestled in the mountains that wall off the verdant land of eastern Nasertia from the tractless Sinstruck Waste that stretches westward beyond reckoning, rests the dwarven enclave of New Bronok. Founded in the first wave of the Nebren diaspora, New Bronok is a bastion of dwarven culture and industry. Though it’s about as far as one can get from Nebre and remain in “civilization,” the city maintains close ties to the dwarves in the homeland and the socialist revolution brewing there. And even though it lies on and just under the surface like the shared human and dwarven cities in the homeland, it is entirely dwarven-run like the deeper cities now lost to the invaders. Though some humans and others reside there, the city’s low ceilings and unlit warrens constantly remind them and any visitors of the truth: New Bronok is a home for dwarves. 

Dwarven surveyors in the employ of the Empire first assessed the mountains west of Lake Golem in a series of expeditions only a few years after word of Nasertia’s company had made it back to the Old World. The Imperial throne tightly controlled colonization and development of the New World, so the mineral-rich mountains were marked for eventual exploitation. After the Fall, when floodgates of immigration opened to any in the Old World with the courage and resources to make the crossing, it was a wagon train of dwarves that proved hardy enough to successfully make the perilous overland journey to the mountains. In 502, the first warrens were blasted out of clefts in the mountainside, and New Bronok was officially founded. Over the years, refugees from the dwarven diaspora have been streaming in to the city, which now is home to over 200,000.

New Bronok is governed on the same principle as its now-overrun namesake under Nebre: a series of councils each oversee a different aspect of city life, and then meet in conclave to centrally plan the city’s overall direction. It is believed that dwarven nature allows this system to run more smoothly than it would in human or elven hands, a sentiment that extends to an undercurrent of distrust for newcomers to the city who’ve been raised near to the surface or among non-dwarves. Council seats are all filled by deep-born dwarves from the lost, sunless cities of the Old World. Immigrants from surface cities seldom find positions of power or great responsibility, but most grudgingly accept the divide and hope that their children won’t be subjected to the same. Non-dwarf residents have their own neighborhood close to the surface, and non-dwarf visitors traveling under the surface without official permission and an escort are curtly taken back sunside.

The economy of New Bronok is driven by mining and industrial production. It is currently the known world’s single largest exporter of iron and other metals of industrial value. New Bronok’s power comes from rich coal seams and a cluster of geothermal vents. Its food supply comes from a combination of subterranean horticulture and trade with nearby surface dwellers. Raids by native elves have frustrated attempts to connect the city by overland rail to its closest neighbor, Endeavor, making it costly to import goods into the city. The trip is mostly managed by wagon or mule train, though part of the journey may be shortened by poling or steaming a raft up one of the westward tributaries that feed Lake Golem. Some of the city’s exports are handled the same way, but larger shipments are taken by rail down a secure tunnel that runs all the way to underneath Lake Golem, where sealed barges are released from an airlock to rocket up through the water and breach in an impressive, whale-like display. The barges are then towed into port at Endeavor before being sent down the Great Sajoo River toward their eventual destinations on the coast.

Aside from metal ingots, New Bronok exports some manufactured goods. Though it doesn’t produce goods exclusively for export, some of the city’s products are welcome in other markets, so a surplus is produced and shipped out. Among those products are firearms, shotguns mostly, produced by the famed New Bronok Gunsmiths Collective No. 3. Dwarven-made machine parts are famously rugged and eagerly sought by factory owners in both the New and Old World. New Bronok also trades away some of their subterranean-grown foodstuffs to the dwarven communities in cities like Northport and Cinder Keep, where the local dwarves aren’t quite able to reproduce the conditions required to cultivate the sunless produce for a taste of their lost home.

Notable Locations
The Non-Dwarves’ Quarter - The non-dwarf residents of New Bronok are mostly merchants, either liaisons from shipping houses there to facilitate commerce with the city, or small-time traders serving the needs of travelers and passers-through. They reside in a neighborhood near the city’s main entrance, occupying a patch of the surface and stretching a few levels below. As the only part of the New Bronok that most travelers ever see, the Non-Dwarves’ Quarter is practically a self-sufficient town all by itself. It boasts inns, saloons, shrines, a Dominist chapel, outfitters. It also hosts embassies, including one that the dwarves built for representatives from the federation of native elven nations, a sign of the uneasy peace that stands between the elves and New Bronok.

The Volkov Roads - In the course of digging out the city, the dwarves uncovered a network of masterfully laid tunnels already in place. Most are collapsed, but two of the surviving tunnels are essential assets to the city. One runs east, terminating under Lake Golem, and is used by New Bronok for exporting its metals and machines. The other runs west, under the mountains, allowing explorers to cross into the Sinstruck Wastes without having to contend with a costly trek through the monster-infested passes. The city charges a modest fee for travel through the westward tunnel, called the Volkov Roads for the explorer who first discovered and mapped the tunnels. The scholars who pay to travel the Volkov Road west into the Sinstruck Waste theorize that the ruins found there belong to the same civilization that dug the tunnels in the first place.

Fritz the Elder’s Hideout – The notorious Fritz the Elder and his pirate train have often been spotted crossing the Presidio Line and heading west toward the mountains. The incredible technology in his train suggests dwarven engineering. Rumors abound that someone in power in New Bronok must have an agreement with Fritz and his crew to provide them with acumen and engineering in exchange for safety from him, and that he must have a hideout in the hills not far from the city. If true, these rumors would devastate relations between New Bronok and the other city-states of the New World, for Fritz and his crew are the bane of overland travel throughout the New World. To date, those few adventurers who return from investigating do so empty handed–but most don’t return at all.

This entry was posted on Monday, May 23rd, 2011 at 9:40 pm and is filed under Frontiers. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

One comment

Shervyn
 1 

Fritz the Elder has totally captured my imagination. I just have this imagery of a train using the same design language as Leiji Matsumoto’s Arcadia (Harlock’s Ship) or Galaxy Express 999.

May 24th, 2011 at 5:33 am

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