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LongVin
2014-07-18, 09:49 AM
The other day I got to thinking about how a Dwarf City would actually be laid out considering that they are underground it presents a few possible options:

1. A single or a series of wide open caverns in which there are streets that are lined with buildings like any surface world settlement. These caverns could either be natural or dwarf made, and probably even if they were natural they would be heavily reinforced with Dwarven craftsmanship to make sure they don't suffer from collapse.

2. A network of interconnected tunnels. Basically instead of any free standing structures the Dwarves just carve out the room or rooms they need and plop a door up. This would lead to a more confined series of tunnels and a lack of wide open spaces. The Dwarf city would mostly consist of tunnels going in various directions with random doors set in them for shops and houses.

3. A combination of the two.

Thoughts? How do you see a Dwarf City laid out? More like a city on the surface or just dungeon like tunnels with doors going to rooms?

hymer
2014-07-18, 10:16 AM
I think it may depend a lot on the age of the place. It probably starts out as mostly tunnel networks using natural caves as starting points, eventually turning into the equivalent of forums, squares and marketplaces when enough minor delvings have been made to clear them. I think dwarves are likly to find natural caves beautiful, and they might well leave some virtually untouched save for access purposes, the equivalent of parks or other green areas for surface dwellers. But as time passes, the dwarves would (I think) carve the place for their needs, so the tunnel networks would tend to be on the outer rim of the city, while any larger caves or cave systems would be the older, inner parts. A middle level of the city would probably be devoted to moving easily from any place in the city to another once it grew big enough to warrant this, much like a subway system.

Storm_Of_Snow
2014-07-18, 11:05 AM
Depends on the origin - is it a purpose built (excavated?) settlement, or a group of mines in an area that have coalesced together as the various veins have been worked out, and the deeper veins became so deep that there started to become pointless for the miners to return to the surface? In the latter case, the buildings might be more of a shanty town type - say a cavern was excavated to house the miners while they rested, which got wood, cloth and/or leather screens for privacy, and when the miners stopped using it for deeper dormitories, other people would have moved in, keeping and enhancing the existing screens, but probably also digging into the cavern walls, floor and ceiling to increase their available space.

Although whichever way, you're going to have to have dedicated tubes for air flow - to get fresh air into the deeper workings and people's houses, and extract stale air, smoke and the like to the surface. You might have fresh and soil water pipes as well.

TeflonSam1
2014-07-20, 02:51 AM
I always imagined a massive hollowed-out underground cavern with skyscraper-sized stone columns supporting the roof, and dwellings carved out of the walls and columns, with bridges connecting the walls to the columns at multiple levels.

Genth
2014-07-20, 05:14 AM
Well, Dwarves have stonecunning (or equivalent) and more often than not, perfect spatial imagination underground. They don't need to visually -see- a skyscraper to think it's beautiful architecture. I would go for the 'tunnel' route, except it's far from 'random'. Perhaps a large, spiraling corridor, going deeper and deeper, with tunnels branching off that, connecting branches to other spirals. To a human, just a series of boring tunnels. To a dwarf, an incredible feat of engineering and architecture.

Elurindel
2014-07-20, 03:38 PM
I envision them as intricate tunnels, filled with trapdoors, floodgates, and other water and magma-powered coils for fiendishly-complicated devices that lesser minds simply cannot fathom.
Either way, it should be a total fortress.

Orderic
2014-07-20, 04:23 PM
I have two words for you: Dwarf Fortress.

I am, of course, talking about the game. Should I ever need to design a dwarven city, I will use it.

But if you need examples... how about a city that is submereged in a lake of magma? Or one that is built inside an active volcano? A city that uses pumps to flood the surrounding surface with magma in case of an invasion, a gargantuan tower that dwarfs even the tallest mountain and many others.
Also recommended is a look at this (http://dwarffortresswiki.org/index.php/DF2014:Megaprojects)

rlc
2014-07-20, 04:58 PM
low ceilings.

Sartharina
2014-07-20, 05:07 PM
I have two words for you: Dwarf Fortress.

I am, of course, talking about the game. Should I ever need to design a dwarven city, I will use it.

But if you need examples... how about a city that is submereged in a lake of magma? Or one that is built inside an active volcano? A city that uses pumps to flood the surrounding surface with magma in case of an invasion, a gargantuan tower that dwarfs even the tallest mountain and many others.
Also recommended is a look at this (http://dwarffortresswiki.org/index.php/DF2014:Megaprojects)

Gargantuan tower made of soap, no less! And those cities submerged in lakes of magma are made of Ice!

Of course, most Dwarf Fortresses would be ugly holes in the ground with stuff scattered everywhere, and a bunch of dwarves milling aimlessly around wagons because the overseer can't figure out how to get the dwarves to actually do anything. :smalltongue:

I have got to play that game more often, and actually learn how it works.

Coidzor
2014-07-20, 05:37 PM
A capital or other major cultural site will have aspects of the grand city in cavern to it, though the guts and low-status housing will be sequestered in the "Undercity" of tunnels, along with the more hazardous workshops which are generally placed in areas which have been mined out.

Something more along the lines of a Dwarven Town is maybe going to have a central meeting/dining hall/gymnasium/auditorium ala Dwarf Fortress along with an underground equivalent of a pitch/village green for when they need a larger amount of space to do something or need to practice their non-tunnel-fighting drills or hold festivals that don't just happen inside one of the chapels to the dwarf gods.

LongVin
2014-07-20, 11:36 PM
Well, Dwarves have stonecunning (or equivalent) and more often than not, perfect spatial imagination underground. They don't need to visually -see- a skyscraper to think it's beautiful architecture. I would go for the 'tunnel' route, except it's far from 'random'. Perhaps a large, spiraling corridor, going deeper and deeper, with tunnels branching off that, connecting branches to other spirals. To a human, just a series of boring tunnels. To a dwarf, an incredible feat of engineering and architecture.

I forgot about stonecutting. So yeah I could totally see something that a Human would consider random, but yet is extremely centrally planned.

Kaeso
2014-07-21, 05:02 AM
A stereotype, but I envision dwarves as great miners and craftsmen, with amazing architectural skills that match that of the high elves in a different but equally impressive ways. They're also hard and well organized workers.

As such, I imagine entire underground cities built under a mountain. Cities with multiple levels, large buildings, extremely high celings with some hatches that allow air and sunlight into the city from outside of the mountain, and many high and wide halls (with some smaller, narrower side routes) that lead to their livelihood: precious ores, metals and jewels deep inside of the mountainrange they have chosen to call their home. There would probably also be an easily accessable route to the outside, where they can trade with merchants of the other civilized races.

In my settings, I usually imagine a somewhat symbiotic relationship between men and dwarves. The men, who are highly agricultural, trade food and luxury goods (such as fine cloth) for the precious ores and metals of the dwarves and all the things they fabricate out of them (like weapons and armor). That way the dwarves can focus on what they're good at (mining and forging) while still getting everything they need. It would also mean they're a race that is generally peaceful, as war is bad for trade (which they need to survive) (unless it means two other civilized peoples/races are at war. That way, the dwarves could perhaps sell their wares to both sides).

Now that I think about it, I find it kind of hard to imagine dwarves living in an isolated area. I can really imagine a dwarf farmer or a dwarf weaver.

Storm_Of_Snow
2014-07-21, 06:04 AM
A stereotype, but I envision dwarves as great miners and craftsmen, with amazing architectural skills that match that of the high elves in a different but equally impressive ways. They're also hard and well organized workers.

As such, I imagine entire underground cities built under a mountain. Cities with multiple levels, large buildings, extremely high celings with some hatches that allow air and sunlight into the city from outside of the mountain, and many high and wide halls (with some smaller, narrower side routes) that lead to their livelihood: precious ores, metals and jewels deep inside of the mountainrange they have chosen to call their home. There would probably also be an easily accessable route to the outside, where they can trade with merchants of the other civilized races.

In my settings, I usually imagine a somewhat symbiotic relationship between men and dwarves. The men, who are highly agricultural, trade food and luxury goods (such as fine cloth) for the precious ores and metals of the dwarves and all the things they fabricate out of them (like weapons and armor). That way the dwarves can focus on what they're good at (mining and forging) while still getting everything they need. It would also mean they're a race that is generally peaceful, as war is bad for trade (which they need to survive) (unless it means two other civilized peoples/races are at war. That way, the dwarves could perhaps sell their wares to both sides).

Now that I think about it, I find it kind of hard to imagine dwarves living in an isolated area. I can really imagine a dwarf farmer or a dwarf weaver.

To be honest, my view of Dwarven society is that the mines and underground settlements are, to invert a cliche, the body of the iceberg - there'd also be a small but still significant number of farmers (grain, livestock, possibly fruits), traders, patrols and watchmen (watchdwarves?), lumberjacks (firewood/charcoal, mine props, furniture), trappers/hunters (furs, fish and game meats, eliminating predatory animals and/or vermin from their territory) and so on above working ground - they may live in the main settlement and effectively commute to their places of work, or they may live in small offshoot underground settlements, or they could potentially use the larger pieces of mining spoil to build homes above the surface (it's got to go somewhere after all).

DigoDragon
2014-07-21, 07:27 AM
The second Hobbit movie spoiled me. I can't see dwarven cities as anything but giant halls and grand rooms now. Though I also imagine their cities aren't 100% inside the mountain. I can envision an outside market with buildings and homes there. That way the riffraff humans and snooty elves can trade with the dwarves without scuffing the nice clean palace floors. :smallbiggrin:

LongVin
2014-07-21, 03:54 PM
There probably has to be some sort of outside just to deal with traders, any crops that need sunlight and of course watch towers to look out for pesky orcs and goblins.

Coidzor
2014-07-21, 04:20 PM
Now that I think about it, I find it kind of hard to imagine dwarves living in an isolated area. I can really imagine a dwarf farmer or a dwarf weaver.

Take a line from Pratchett. Dwarven weavers do it with chainmail. Or, Dwarf Fortress, where Dwarven weavers do it with adamantine in addition to rope vine and cave spider silk.

VoxRationis
2014-07-21, 05:10 PM
First, we must examine the physical necessities of large underground cities. Some of these necessities are the same as for a surface city (food, water, trade, defense), while others are peculiar to the close confines of an underground dwelling (light, fresh air, and heat management).

Food is an obvious problem for anyone separated from the sun-driven food webs and energy pyramids of the surface. Some dwarven cities might solve this through simple trade with agricultural communities nearby; I believe this is the most common solution. Others might make use of geothermally-powered food webs in the caverns around the cities, and still others, located just beneath the surface might use primitive hydroponics in large greenhouses or just plain surface agriculture. Under no circumstances should the explanation be "mushrooms." Mushrooms are heterotrophs in the same way humans are (though technically the mushroom is just the fruiting body of a larger fungus in most cases), and cannot fix energy from inorganic sources in the same way an autotrophic organism such as a tree can. At best, mushrooms can be used to improve energy efficiency by recycling organic detritus, or to add nutritive variety to an otherwise homogenous diet.

Water is necessary in great supply for a city. Not only do the people there need to drink water, but they need to bathe, to clean their clothes and homes, water any food the city produces on its own (see above), and they need to meet the demands of industry, which usually ends up taking a surprising amount of water. It is likely that the dwarven city is built around underground rivers or areas where snowmelt can be channeled into a plumbing system.

Trade and defense are two factors pulling cities in opposite directions. Efficiency in trade usually requires a city layout which allows high through traffic, while defense demands that traffic into the city be impeded at every turn. The dwarf city with too little trade access may find itself starving; the city whose gates are too open finds itself added to the long list of dwarf cities overrun by monsters. A good compromise is to have a single trade road running through the city, looping back on itself outside the walls. The trade road can be at the bottom of numerous curtain walls, turrets, and fortifications, with only narrow passageways connecting it to the city proper, but still be wide enough to permit many merchants' comings and goings.

Fresh air is particularly difficult to manage. It is necessary for the survival of a large group of respirating creatures that oxygen-rich air be continually admitted and carbon dioxide-rich air be continually expelled. Without ready access to the oxygen-freeing surface biosphere, it is likely that the dwarves will suffocate without ingenious engineering solutions. If the dwarves have ready access to technology of this kind, mechanically-driven fans and air ducts may refresh the air supply in the different areas of the city. If such devices are too energy-inefficient for the dwarves' tastes or too technologically advanced for them, they can resort to the creation of large central airspaces. Taking advantage of the fact that the low-oxygen air is likely warmer than the high-oxygen air can help with the selective direction of airflow. Inevitably, the city will have to connect its air supply to that of a large exterior airspace full of oxygen-freeing organisms, either by means of . It is possible that this could be a sufficiently large underground environment full of geothermal autotrophs, as discussed earlier. The sad reality of this is that the large airflow demand will require that the city have more points of exterior access than military strategists would like. Some form of security measures taken at the air ducts will likely be necessary.

Heat is a little-addressed problem for dwarves. Often thought of as cold-weather creatures due to their association with Scandinavian myths, one must address that their chosen environment will not be cold. The ambient temperature increases as one delves deep into the Earth, and the activity and metabolisms of a city full of mammals who are furthermore known for use of large forges will only compound the problem. For a city built under a mountain, one can take inspiration from termite mounds to solve both the heat and fresh air problems. A large central airspace takes the hot, stale air up to the upper reaches of the city and away, while small ducts leading to the surface allow the cold, fresh air to flow inwards around the periphery of the city, where it sinks to the low central airspace.

Sartharina
2014-07-21, 05:37 PM
I imagine dwarven cities to resembling massive temples more than... well, cities. They may have a huge fancy gate as the 'main entrance', but they also have smaller towers and forts serve as outposts.

Populations are distributed into "Clan Houses" with centralized eating and drinking cafeterias, with a LOT of communal services, as well as a "Great House" for all dwarves without or away from their clan houses. The average accommodations for individuals are 10' by 10' by 5' rooms, with more for prestigious dwarves such as clan leaders - but that space is for duty as much as luxury.

Residential quarters are in narrow, but decorative and well-maintained tunnels. A lot of workshops are as well. However, there are lots of big, open areas for ventilation and aeration of the complex. Memorial, Dining, Drinking, Political, Recreation, bathing, trading, and storage halls are all communal, and often large enough to be mistaken as open-aired by people who forget they're under a mountain.

LongVin
2014-07-21, 06:37 PM
First, we must examine the physical necessities of large underground cities. Some of these necessities are the same as for a surface city (food, water, trade, defense), while others are peculiar to the close confines of an underground dwelling (light, fresh air, and heat management).

Food is an obvious problem for anyone separated from the sun-driven food webs and energy pyramids of the surface. Some dwarven cities might solve this through simple trade with agricultural communities nearby; I believe this is the most common solution. Others might make use of geothermally-powered food webs in the caverns around the cities, and still others, located just beneath the surface might use primitive hydroponics in large greenhouses or just plain surface agriculture. Under no circumstances should the explanation be "mushrooms." Mushrooms are heterotrophs in the same way humans are (though technically the mushroom is just the fruiting body of a larger fungus in most cases), and cannot fix energy from inorganic sources in the same way an autotrophic organism such as a tree can. At best, mushrooms can be used to improve energy efficiency by recycling organic detritus, or to add nutritive variety to an otherwise homogenous diet.

Water is necessary in great supply for a city. Not only do the people there need to drink water, but they need to bathe, to clean their clothes and homes, water any food the city produces on its own (see above), and they need to meet the demands of industry, which usually ends up taking a surprising amount of water. It is likely that the dwarven city is built around underground rivers or areas where snowmelt can be channeled into a plumbing system.

Trade and defense are two factors pulling cities in opposite directions. Efficiency in trade usually requires a city layout which allows high through traffic, while defense demands that traffic into the city be impeded at every turn. The dwarf city with too little trade access may find itself starving; the city whose gates are too open finds itself added to the long list of dwarf cities overrun by monsters. A good compromise is to have a single trade road running through the city, looping back on itself outside the walls. The trade road can be at the bottom of numerous curtain walls, turrets, and fortifications, with only narrow passageways connecting it to the city proper, but still be wide enough to permit many merchants' comings and goings.

Fresh air is particularly difficult to manage. It is necessary for the survival of a large group of respirating creatures that oxygen-rich air be continually admitted and carbon dioxide-rich air be continually expelled. Without ready access to the oxygen-freeing surface biosphere, it is likely that the dwarves will suffocate without ingenious engineering solutions. If the dwarves have ready access to technology of this kind, mechanically-driven fans and air ducts may refresh the air supply in the different areas of the city. If such devices are too energy-inefficient for the dwarves' tastes or too technologically advanced for them, they can resort to the creation of large central airspaces. Taking advantage of the fact that the low-oxygen air is likely warmer than the high-oxygen air can help with the selective direction of airflow. Inevitably, the city will have to connect its air supply to that of a large exterior airspace full of oxygen-freeing organisms, either by means of . It is possible that this could be a sufficiently large underground environment full of geothermal autotrophs, as discussed earlier. The sad reality of this is that the large airflow demand will require that the city have more points of exterior access than military strategists would like. Some form of security measures taken at the air ducts will likely be necessary.

Heat is a little-addressed problem for dwarves. Often thought of as cold-weather creatures due to their association with Scandinavian myths, one must address that their chosen environment will not be cold. The ambient temperature increases as one delves deep into the Earth, and the activity and metabolisms of a city full of mammals who are furthermore known for use of large forges will only compound the problem. For a city built under a mountain, one can take inspiration from termite mounds to solve both the heat and fresh air problems. A large central airspace takes the hot, stale air up to the upper reaches of the city and away, while small ducts leading to the surface allow the cold, fresh air to flow inwards around the periphery of the city, where it sinks to the low central airspace.


So basically they are going to need to have wide open caverns and spaces unless they can have mechanical fans to circulate air

VoxRationis
2014-07-21, 08:28 PM
Yes, in particular large vertical shafts. The amount of city planning this requires explains quite well the Lawful nature of dwarves; without a strong authority to organize this kind of thing, the physical necessities likely wouldn't be met.

Cikomyr
2014-07-21, 09:03 PM
I always imagined there would be a mix of great caves and digged tunnels. But the Great Caves/Halls would have its walls filled with windows of Dwarven Appartment complexes, Noble Houses' Domains, etc.. Imagine if an appartment building was actually carved from the solid rock.

And the entire city would be usually centered around these "hall", some larger (for state purposes, entertainment, parades, etc..) while others would be smaller (playing area near residential quarters, market hall, commercial district. What we consider a "building" would be simply a carve-out/build up section of the rock. The city would be organized in 3-dimensions, with a very ingenious system of elevators for materials.

May or may not have light pit from the surface..

I can imagine the Height of Dwarven Real Estate to have a window giving to the Mountainhold's Greatest Central hall. Basically getting a good view of a Hall (and LARGE open but interior space) being a symbol of status and opulence.

Genth
2014-07-21, 11:24 PM
Just a curiosity I want to ask - WHY big open spaces?

Other than the airflow problem, it seems to me that the reason for having large, open caverns is to appeal to a human aesthetic. Now, naturally, we're building a world to suit human aesthetic, but I stand by my feeling that a dwarven aesthetic is going to be quite fundamentally different. They don't particularly -like- open spaces, and prefer to stay enclosed.

I think also, however, that a lot of what you need to consider depends on the level of magic in the setting. If dwarven engineering has a magical component to it, then it is reasonable to have, say, 'breathing rocks' and crystal structures that channel and radiate sunlight.

Also, incorporate the culture of your dwarves. In my setting, the Dwarves (Well, deepkin) have a strong singing culture, and their best mages channel magic through singing. Therefore, the cities are almost built as musical instruments - you can tell where you are if you have a good ear, by the tone of the air around you. They can defend their halls by striking gongs in specific places, which the tunnels amplify and direct at choke points. In other words, do cool stuff, but don't make it too human

VoxRationis
2014-07-21, 11:46 PM
No one really feels comfortable in big open spaces. That's kind of the point. Such spaces are usually made to impress upon visitors the power and majesty of the builders of the space. Real-life humans are often attracted to small, "cozy" spaces, but we built lots of cavernous, vaulted cathedrals and hypostyle halls anyway.

Anyway, there are legitimate engineering reasons for them.

Marlwyn
2014-07-22, 12:22 AM
In a campaign I once DM'd, I came up with an underground dwarven city that used a triangular fractal as its fundamental design/pattern. One large central chamber as the city center, then smaller sized chambers branching out of the corners of it, with smaller sized chambers branching out of those, down to individual clan chambers and then to individual room sized chambers, all following the same fractal pattern. Try carving THAT out of a mountain. In the campaign that particular city was one of the engineering wonders of the world.

Kaeso
2014-07-22, 02:46 AM
Trade and defense are two factors pulling cities in opposite directions. Efficiency in trade usually requires a city layout which allows high through traffic, while defense demands that traffic into the city be impeded at every turn. The dwarf city with too little trade access may find itself starving; the city whose gates are too open finds itself added to the long list of dwarf cities overrun by monsters. A good compromise is to have a single trade road running through the city, looping back on itself outside the walls. The trade road can be at the bottom of numerous curtain walls, turrets, and fortifications, with only narrow passageways connecting it to the city proper, but still be wide enough to permit many merchants' comings and goings.

That is a good and often overlooked point. That's also why I believe that the mountain cities I described earlier (reliant on human agriculture for their survival) should not be ultimate closed off fortresses. Perhaps it should be in a strategic position that's possible to close off with some gates or bottlenecks, but ideally they have large halls and gates that allow many farmers to pass through with their carts full of fruit, grain, vegetables etc.

In my on setting, for example, there's a chain of mountains where dwarves have settled, which is nearly the only significant source of mythral in the world. It's also in the middle of two powerful kingdoms, one of which having an agricultural/trade oriented duchy as its (nominal) vassal. As you can understand, this dwarven settlement needs to be fairly open to allow for trade, but it's also very vulnerable as both kingdoms want to have it for themselves. Currently the dwarves are a vassal of one of those kingdoms (giving them a near monopoly on trade with the dwarves), but that could easily change in a war or two.

I think that's an interesting way to involve dwarves into wars and politics despite their peaceful and industrial/trade oriented nature. They don't want war, but they're always dragged into one simply because they have the tendency of settling in regions rich in metals and minerals.


Just a curiosity I want to ask - WHY big open spaces?

In my minds eye, a dwarf city isn't just one big, open hall. Imagine it like a mall, to make a very simple comparison. There's one massive overarching big space, but it's filled with smaller spaces for the shops. That's how I imagine dwarf cities to be like: large, towering open spaces that reach as far up as possible (allowing for proper ventilation), but inside of those small spaces you have streets, shops, storehouses, barracks and residences. It'd be almost like a human city, but inside of a mountain and with much more impressive architecture.

Storm_Of_Snow
2014-07-22, 03:30 AM
Power for air circulation fans could come via waterwheels, whether that's from an underground or surface water source - chances are they'd power heavy manufacturing tools using water power as well, so the technology is basically there.

I guess you could also put fan blades above the exhausts of the forges, using the thermal currents to power small items of machinery elsewhere.


No one really feels comfortable in big open spaces.

Most claustraphobics would disagree with you. :smallwink:

A large open space could exist as a gathering place - perhaps the Dwarven equivalent of St Peter's Square - or as a mustering field for the military, a market square, maybe even a sports stadium or gladiatorial arena.

As for defences, the city could be designed with clear, open boulevards, but incorporated into those are movable stone barriers that can be used to close off areas from attack, probably complete with loopholes to shoot from. Or if you've got magic, you could cast polymorph any object to turn a sizable stone block into, say, a cobblestone, then cast dispel magic on it during an attack and, voila, instant wall.

VoxRationis
2014-07-22, 09:59 AM
The technology for fans is obviously there with most dwarves, assuming they have bellows, waterwheels, etc., but the difficulty lies in transmitting generated power efficiently. If the city were using fans and ducts rather than large central spaces, they'd have to have a LOT of fans, spread over a very large area, and most non-electrical methods of energy transfer are pretty inefficient over that kind of distance. I suppose you could have water-powered fans, but in order to keep the pressure up you'd need a large pumping station somewhere.
As an aside, everyone should keep in mind that the "fan" scenario will result in HUGE networks of pipes and ducts running about the city, but not readily available to the average pedestrian. The thing above one's ceiling wouldn't be your upstairs neighbor, it'd be a service or maintenance level, or even just pipes, if they're large enough. Nothing wrong with that, though.

Sartharina
2014-07-22, 11:03 AM
Dwarves use quantum entanglement to transmit power. And perpetual motion machines to generate it.

Dwarves are inherently Lawful. Entropy is a form of Chaos. So, Dwarves destroy Entropy.

hymer
2014-07-22, 11:09 AM
A lot of the fresh air should come from a combination of overall design and the numerous heat sources we associate with dwarves: Smelting, forging, and so on. The massive heat generation (probably present near the centre of the place) should be coupled with effective chimneys sending the most used air out, causing (cold, high altitude) air to be drawn in from shafts on the outskirts. Most of the fans should be working near the centre to keep the airflow going, and this would be the place where a lot of water (possibly steam depending on tech level) power is concentrated anyway.
Natural winds, sun and earth heat should likewise contribute to the circulation of air, much like large insect hives.
If it's working well, there should be a slight draft nearly everywhere in the complex, and you can find the smeltery by following it.

Storm_Of_Snow
2014-07-22, 11:21 AM
You could potentially have batteries - the Baghdad battery is about 2,000 years old, well before the timeframe of a normal-psuedo medieval fantasy realm. Maybe even rudimentary power cables and generators/motors if the society has been stable enough to allow the required understanding and technological breakthroughs (so long as you can justify why that technology's got no further).

Alternatively, you could have a series of waterfalls driving waterwheels (or even just a vertical series of waterwheels with the top feeding the second and so on), allowing you to have your power generation at various levels.

Or, depending on the geology, you could use geothermal, with a loop of piping that goes near to a magma source at it's lowest level, boiling the water into steam which rises up one side, driving a fan/proto-turbine on the way up, before reaching a condenser tank at the top and dropping back to the bottom via a water wheel.

And if we look at magic again, there's the potential for powering treadmills, windlasses or cranks using automata, golems, or maybe even the undead for those that aren't too squeamish - Dwarves might keep their own ancestors in honoured reverence, but they may not treat the dead of other species, especially those they regard as threats, in the same manner.

TheStranger
2014-07-22, 11:52 AM
The technology for fans is obviously there with most dwarves, assuming they have bellows, waterwheels, etc., but the difficulty lies in transmitting generated power efficiently. If the city were using fans and ducts rather than large central spaces, they'd have to have a LOT of fans, spread over a very large area, and most non-electrical methods of energy transfer are pretty inefficient over that kind of distance. I suppose you could have water-powered fans, but in order to keep the pressure up you'd need a large pumping station somewhere.
As an aside, everyone should keep in mind that the "fan" scenario will result in HUGE networks of pipes and ducts running about the city, but not readily available to the average pedestrian. The thing above one's ceiling wouldn't be your upstairs neighbor, it'd be a service or maintenance level, or even just pipes, if they're large enough. Nothing wrong with that, though.

Wait... a legitimate reason for movie-style air vents that you can enter through, running through the walls of a dwarven city? I know what the PCs are doing in my next campaign.

Seems to me that you don't need to pump water very much at all if you're under a mountain, unless you're in a very dry area and limited to deep aquifers. Water starts out above you - it's just a matter of collecting it before it gets too far downhill. In a relatively wet area, you could tap into shallow groundwater or pipe it directly from alpine lakes and streams. Take the water at high elevation and release it back to the surface in a valley - that could give you as much as a couple thousand vertical feet to play with, which will give you all the power you could want. I'd have a network of collection cisterns near the surface at high elevation, with pipes leading to wherever you want water for power, drinking, washing, industry, recreation, or whatever. Naturally, you'd need a lot of gates and valves to control flow, and maybe a failsafe drain into an abandoned valley - you need to be careful when you build your city under your reservoir. Then all the drains, individually or a in an underground river, flow back out to the surface at lower elevation.

Obviously, there are substantial engineering challenges that go with all this, starting with tapping an aquifer from the bottom and ending with a lot of highly-pressurized water. Which is perhaps why dwarves are such good engineers - all the bad engineers end up in flooded caverns. But combine that dwarven engineering with a few spells to reinforce and waterseal stone, and you could probably make it work with only a little bit of handwaving.

VoxRationis
2014-07-22, 08:31 PM
The water starts out distributed over a wide area, which might inhibit the buildup of the pressure you need to supply water in a fashion which could drive mechanical devices across the city. A lower-altitude dwarf city would be able to tap a higher-volume water source, potentially, but might need to use heat-radiating towers to get rid of the hot air.

But yes, movie-style air ducts (even stealth-capable, since they'd be made of stone rather than deformable metal sheets) would be usable in a "fan"-style dwarf city.

Sartharina
2014-07-23, 01:45 AM
The water starts out distributed over a wide area, which might inhibit the buildup of the pressure you need to supply water in a fashion which could drive mechanical devices across the city. A lower-altitude dwarf city would be able to tap a higher-volume water source, potentially, but might need to use heat-radiating towers to get rid of the hot air.
Screw pumps+Aquifers solve this problem nicely. Especially when it's mixed with dwarven engineering (Using Water mills to power the screw pumps, for example) to achieve >100% efficiency.

Humans are not inherently lawful, and are thus vulnerable to the forces of chaos and entropy that make perpetual motion machines impossible. Dwarves, however, are inherently lawful, and NOT subject to those laws of entropy and chaos. However, they're balanced against the system of the world by inherently-chaotic Goblin and Gnomish engineers, which are extra vulnerable to chaos and entropy.

Therefore, the engineering and spread of Dwarven Influence is not only a matter of physics, but also critical in the balance of the battle with Law Vs. Chaos. If Law gets the upper hand, the influx of energy causes an exponential explosion in growth and expansion to the point of overload of anything living, while an imbalance toward Chaos hastens the Heat Death of the universe.

TheStranger
2014-07-23, 07:03 AM
On a slightly less Dwarf Fortress-y note, groundwater seeps fairly readily into open space - that's basically how wells work. So you dig a lattice of tunnels across a large-ish area, drain them all into a central cistern, and you should be able to gather a decent amount of water, hydrology and geology permitting. Or, as I said before, you tap some high-elevation surface water, which is probably a more logical solution. It would be pretty simple to capture the entire flow of a mountain stream (or several) and redirect it where you want it.

It would also make for interesting things for PCs to find. "Ok, you're following the inexplicably dry streambed up the mountainside. You come to a hundred-foot-high dam blocking the gorge."

Further engineering challenges - what do dwarves do with all their mine tailings (other than craft them and trade for cheese)? All these tunnels, cisterns, caverns, and whatnot add up to a lot of volume of stone that has to go somewhere. Do dwarves just dump it all outside the gates? Seems like a few million cubic yards of rubble along the road in would kind of detract from the grandeur of your dwarven kingdom, no?

Either way, between the mine tailings and slag dumps all over the place and the rapacious water harvesting (and presumably direct discharge of wastewater), the surface near dwarven cities is probably kind of an environmental disaster.

Storm_Of_Snow
2014-07-23, 07:44 AM
On a slightly less Dwarf Fortress-y note, groundwater seeps fairly readily into open space - that's basically how wells work. So you dig a lattice of tunnels across a large-ish area, drain them all into a central cistern, and you should be able to gather a decent amount of water, hydrology and geology permitting.

The passageways, roads and so on could also have gutters to catch and drain condensation down into a reservoir/ cistern.



Further engineering challenges - what do dwarves do with all their mine tailings (other than craft them and trade for cheese)? All these tunnels, cisterns, caverns, and whatnot add up to a lot of volume of stone that has to go somewhere. Do dwarves just dump it all outside the gates? Seems like a few million cubic yards of rubble along the road in would kind of detract from the grandeur of your dwarven kingdom, no?

Either way, between the mine tailings and slag dumps all over the place and the rapacious water harvesting (and presumably direct discharge of wastewater), the surface near dwarven cities is probably kind of an environmental disaster.
Hmm, if only someone had already considered at least a part of that...


... or they could potentially use the larger pieces of mining spoil to build homes above the surface (it's got to go somewhere after all).
:smallwink:

Depends on what comes out - the smallest pieces could be used for building things like roads and dry stone walls, not just in the hold, but in the wider world as well (hmm, Dwarves probably need canal systems as well, don't they?) or ballast for mine cart tracks (maybe rock breaking is a Dwarven punishment for certain crimes), while larger pieces could go into other construction, depending on what size pieces you can dig out and move around.

You could also use it for counterbalances for cranes and other machinery.

Munitions? Not just for siege weapons but smaller ones as well.

"Buy Thorin's sling bolts. The only sling bolts guaranteed to have been cut from the heart of The Great Mountain."

Depending on what it's composed of, you could potentially refine it for other compounds (effectively fractional smelting) and use or sell them (even to the point where it's just silica, and you make glass), grind it down and mix with water to make clays to help your construction or, if you've access to the technology to do so, turn them into ceramic materials - both potentially giving you anything from real stone-ware plates and bowls to brand new construction.

If there's flint, you've got the sources for every single adventurers standard equipment tinder box. :smallwink:

If you've got any magma exposed, you could just chuck the spoil in there, possibly skimming off anything that floats to the surface. Or chuck it into any chasms, so you'll eventually fill it up .

And, going back to using magic, if stone to flesh allows you to pick what type of flesh is produced, you could even cook and eat it.

VoxRationis
2014-07-23, 06:14 PM
I have a setting where the dwarves built huge tower-cities above their tunnels just to do something with the spare stone they had.

Also, I was assuming a world where you can't do Dwarf Fortress cheese. That post about >100% efficiency nearly made me retch.

Sartharina
2014-07-24, 12:36 AM
On a slightly less Dwarf Fortress-y note

Begone with this heresy!

Genth
2014-07-24, 03:47 AM
I have a setting where the dwarves built huge tower-cities above their tunnels just to do something with the spare stone they had.


As opposed to selling it to humans to build their cities for lots and lots of gold? Or food.

hymer
2014-07-24, 03:58 AM
As opposed to selling it to humans to build their cities for lots and lots of gold? Or food.

If we're worried about fan technology, I'm afraid the bother and expense of transportation of bits of rock makes it hard to turn a profit on that. It would require some rather specific circumstances. E.g.: A navigable river between the sites; humans who won't or can't make bricks, and yet are willing and able to pay for this expensive transportation; and the stone being excavated in useful shapes.

Storm_Of_Snow
2014-07-24, 05:57 AM
If we're worried about fan technology, I'm afraid the bother and expense of transportation of bits of rock makes it hard to turn a profit on that. It would require some rather specific circumstances. E.g.: A navigable river between the sites; humans who won't or can't make bricks, and yet are willing and able to pay for this expensive transportation; and the stone being excavated in useful shapes.
There's a lot of thought that the stones in Stonehenge were quarried in Wales, and transported 150 miles to their present location - about 5,000 years ago.

If there's a reason to do it, people will find a way.

If the human settlement is on sandstone or chalk, harder rocks would be in high demand for fortifications.
Alternatively, the stone might be in demand for particular uses (slate, for example), or the rock could be of a type that's suitable to be made into decorative forms (marble, York stone etc), and thus have an aesthetic appeal and demand.

Or the rich could buy in Dwarven rock for use in construction as a status symbol.

And of course, if a ruler hires a Dwarf engineer for a construction project, chances are they'll buy in "good" Dwarven stone - although whether that's because it's the right material for the job, whether it's the only stone the Dwarf knows how to work with, or whether they're gouging the daft human for as much money as they can get out of them is another matter. :smallwink:

As for the rock coming out in suitable shapes, making those shapes from larger boulders could be part of an apprentice stonemasons/miners initial training, so they get used to handling the tools without the risks of damaging more valuable stone, or accidentally causing a cave in. Or miners who're too old, or who've been injured in a cave in and can no longer mine, could earn money by dealing with the spoil. Or that spoil handling could be done by the miner's spouses (both wives and husbands), or criminals (especially if the prisoners have to pay for their food etc while imprisoned).

Genth
2014-07-24, 06:22 AM
Well exactly! Think of the dwarven construction racket! They get paid to dig out stone to build dwarven cities, cart the stone over the hill to get paid to build the human city, THEN CHARGE THEM FOR THE ROCK THEY TOOK OUT OF THE DWARVEN CITY!

Beleriphon
2014-07-24, 06:30 AM
Well exactly! Think of the dwarven construction racket! They get paid to dig out stone to build dwarven cities, cart the stone over the hill to get paid to build the human city, THEN CHARGE THEM FOR THE ROCK THEY TOOK OUT OF THE DWARVEN CITY!

Its the dwarven mafia!

VoxRationis
2014-07-24, 06:54 AM
As opposed to selling it to humans to build their cities for lots and lots of gold? Or food.

Those were the ancient dwarves. At the time, the humans were small bands of foragers not worth trading with.

hymer
2014-07-24, 07:58 AM
@ Storm_Of_Snow @ genth: While you can narrate things in the way you're describing, we've left the part where we worry about fans and CO2 build-up, as I said. We're coming up with reasons so that dwarves can sell stone to humans. We could just as easily come up with reasons why there is no surplus stone to be gotten rid of.

Genth
2014-07-24, 03:54 PM
Dwarves can process CO2 into oxygen :p.

kieza
2014-07-24, 04:32 PM
I don't really put the bulk of my dwarf cities underground...mostly, they have either low, sprawling buildings at surface level, or buildings which are mostly underground but still open directly to the outdoors. That said, the dwarves will take inactive sections of their mines and convert them into strongholds, storehouses, and emergency shelters. So, in the case of an invasion, the entire population of a town will rush into the mines and seal off the exits until the danger has passed.

LongVin
2014-07-24, 11:52 PM
Dwarves can process CO2 into oxygen :p.

So despite hating trees, Dwarves are walking trees?

Sartharina
2014-07-25, 12:56 AM
So despite hating trees, Dwarves are walking trees?Too much competition.

It's the beards that convert CO2 into Oxygen. Too many trees, and the atmospheric CO2 is too low to allow dwarves to grow proper, full beards.

Storm_Of_Snow
2014-07-25, 02:53 AM
@ Storm_Of_Snow @ genth: While you can narrate things in the way you're describing, we've left the part where we worry about fans and CO2 build-up, as I said. We're coming up with reasons so that dwarves can sell stone to humans. We could just as easily come up with reasons why there is no surplus stone to be gotten rid of.
Erm, my entire previous post was about possible reasons for non-Dwarves to buy Dwarven mining spoil.

LongVin
2014-07-25, 10:29 AM
Too much competition.

It's the beards that convert CO2 into Oxygen. Too many trees, and the atmospheric CO2 is too low to allow dwarves to grow proper, full beards.

Damn trees muscling in on Dwarven business and preventing them from growing full, luscious beards.

TheStranger
2014-07-25, 10:47 AM
Too much competition.

It's the beards that convert CO2 into Oxygen. Too many trees, and the atmospheric CO2 is too low to allow dwarves to grow proper, full beards.

Obviously, the beards are actually some kind of plant symbiote.

hymer
2014-07-25, 02:16 PM
Erm, my entire previous post was about possible reasons for non-Dwarves to buy Dwarven mining spoil.

Maybe you'd understand what I mean better if I call your reasons 'excuses' instead? Or even 'far-fetched excuses'? I didn't because I don't want to seem confrontational, so please take it in the spirit intended.

Ashbite
2014-07-25, 03:46 PM
My vision for dwarven city i kinda industrial feel mixed with old mines and a lot cramed spaces.

So there would be an big exterior door,leading to a wide street with market at both sides,for trade purposes.
Then an spiraling path with lots of offshots and such.Eweri 10 or so revolutions there would be an biger path,for transportation.
Buildings would be crumed together,because dwarves would basicly dig a hole and plop a dore in a wall.
there would also be a lot of biger spaces,because dwarves like to show off.

Ewerithing would probably be highly detailed.

Water would be taken from a river up above,and dwarves would harnes its kinetic energy to power machines.

An airway consisting of wide tunnels and iron and wood wents would stretch all across the city.
It would use the hot air full of CO2 rising up to suck cold air filled with Oxigen.There will also be large fans powered by water and/or steam helping this.

Main sources of power would be steam,created with water and lava,and wood gasifiers(turns timber or charcoal into wood gass).

the light would come from lamps powered with wood gass and torches.

Terror_Incognito
2014-07-27, 12:53 AM
On the subject of air flow and heat management, I think the dwarves would probably engineer something like this:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xGaT0B__2DM

DeadMech
2014-07-28, 01:31 AM
This may not be the best example but often times when I play dwarf fortress or minecraft I end up with more stone and dirt that I need so I use it to back fill abandoned caverns and mining tunnels.

Though that video on termite mounds got me thinking. Maybe... and this is crazy out there... the mountain wasn't there before the dwarves settled and began mining. The dwarves created the mountain out of their waste stone and as the dwarven colonies grow and spread out they formed lines of mountain ranges. The purpose being to create air flow in their homes. Once the mountain is large enough it also alters the local climate. As warm moist air rises to cross the mountain range it cools and causes precipitation.

A large central shaft would make a rather impressive sight as well as aid air flow. Any open shaft like that though is required to have catwalks suspended across the chasm. I think of dwarves as being subtractive thinkers so they would be carved out of the same rock as the shaft walls. Rather than carving out a hall, then building statues and pillars and moving them into the hall, they would probably carve everything out of the same rock when possible.

Again going back to dwarf fortress my settlements tend to grow in specific ways. As I dig deep and greedily, the majority of the living and work spaces migrate downward as well to bring them closer to the materials being mined. Near the surface you'll find the remains of the initial living spaces, probably converted into storage space or guard posts, or some other purpose.

Storm_Of_Snow
2014-07-28, 03:01 AM
Maybe you'd understand what I mean better if I call your reasons 'excuses' instead? Or even 'far-fetched excuses'? I didn't because I don't want to seem confrontational, so please take it in the spirit intended.

Excuses? :smallsigh: Only if people being hungry is an excuse to transport food long distances, or being cold is an excuse to transport coal or firewood.

How about a real life, happening right now, example of mining waste being taken from site and reused for a project? The London Crossrail project is taking the clay spoil from under the Thames, compressing it to remove the water, and shipping the dried material out into Essex to create a nature reserve. That's getting rid of about 4 million tonnes.

How about the fact that all sorts of rock have been transported hundreds, if not thousands of miles for different purposes - slate for roofing, granite for worktops, chalk, limestone...

Excuses? No, a well-thought out socio-economic model of cultural inter-dependency. :smallamused:

DeadMech, the problem with the spoil-built mountain idea is that you wouldn't have a mountain, you'd have a massive pile of gravel and boulders, which would be inherently unstable and extremely dangerous to everyone in the area.

Maybe if they fed the spoil into a magma pool and then used magic to cool parts of it into the shapes they wanted, but that would take millenia just to make a small hill, let alone a mountain.

LongVin
2014-07-28, 11:35 AM
This may not be the best example but often times when I play dwarf fortress or minecraft I end up with more stone and dirt that I need so I use it to back fill abandoned caverns and mining tunnels.

Though that video on termite mounds got me thinking. Maybe... and this is crazy out there... the mountain wasn't there before the dwarves settled and began mining. The dwarves created the mountain out of their waste stone and as the dwarven colonies grow and spread out they formed lines of mountain ranges. The purpose being to create air flow in their homes. Once the mountain is large enough it also alters the local climate. As warm moist air rises to cross the mountain range it cools and causes precipitation.

A large central shaft would make a rather impressive sight as well as aid air flow. Any open shaft like that though is required to have catwalks suspended across the chasm. I think of dwarves as being subtractive thinkers so they would be carved out of the same rock as the shaft walls. Rather than carving out a hall, then building statues and pillars and moving them into the hall, they would probably carve everything out of the same rock when possible.

Again going back to dwarf fortress my settlements tend to grow in specific ways. As I dig deep and greedily, the majority of the living and work spaces migrate downward as well to bring them closer to the materials being mined. Near the surface you'll find the remains of the initial living spaces, probably converted into storage space or guard posts, or some other purpose.

Dwarves would almost certainly back fill abandoned caverns, after all you don't want baddies digging up from the Underdark to go "Oh, look we dug right into a mineshaft. Dwarfs must be near by."

hymer
2014-07-28, 03:07 PM
@ Storm_Of_Snow: Let's take alook at your reason-excuses, then, if you don't see it.


There's a lot of thought that the stones in Stonehenge were quarried in Wales, and transported 150 miles to their present location - about 5,000 years ago.

Enough beautifully carved rock for one prestige project that's stood milennia. Doesn't sound like a seller's market to me, nor like something that was done regularly enough to start a trade on it.


If there's a reason to do it, people will find a way.

If there is a good enough reason they may try. Hunger is a good reason. Let's look at some other... reasons.


If the human settlement is on sandstone or chalk, harder rocks would be in high demand for fortifications.

We need to add quite the string of ifs. This high demand is not a given by a long shot. If the humans don't have a fortification already. If the local leader is interested in building such a fortification, so there must be some sort of potential conflict in the area. If the leader has not chosen other options for the fortifications than building it from the stone you're interested in selling (I don't see what's so wrong with sandstone, for example. While softer than many other sorts of stone, it's been used for fortifications without problems. It's not too light or soft to make a tall, thick wall with.) Brick is another great material. Fortifications have been made from plenty of less sturdy things, from simple earthworks to wooden palisades. And if the dwarves conveniently live in the most practical place to have a stone quarry for this fortification anyway. Otherwise make your own stone with cheap human labour, it's hardly rocket surgery (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/ThisAintRocketSurgery).
Once built, a stone fortification tends to last. Parts of them may get broken down in the occasional siege, but most of the stone can be reused easily, even if the place is torn down deliberately by a conquerer. To add to that, the dwarves in your scheme have to produce the stone anyway. This sounds like a buyer's market. And we haven't addressed the moving of all this stone yet. While not impossible, it all adds to the cost.


Alternatively, the stone might be in demand for particular uses (slate, for example), or the rock could be of a type that's suitable to be made into decorative forms (marble, York stone etc), and thus have an aesthetic appeal and demand.

Once you've sold your 100 tons of slate to the handful of families able (and willing) to pay for that kind of roof, you can't sell any more for two hundred years. Perhaps more importantly, if the dwarves are literally living in slate, it's obviously not going to be a rare commodity in the area. The same goes for marble and so forth.


Or the rich could buy in Dwarven rock for use in construction as a status symbol.

Or the rich could hire mercenaries to kill dwarves for status, which would be just as plausible an excuse, but obviously to the detriment of dwarves rather than their advantage. The dwarves need to get rid of rocks, and the humans happen to be willing to buy them for entirely non-practical reasons? This is getting into the far-fetched territory I was alluding to.


And of course, if a ruler hires a Dwarf engineer for a construction project, chances are they'll buy in "good" Dwarven stone - although whether that's because it's the right material for the job, whether it's the only stone the Dwarf knows how to work with, or whether they're gouging the daft human for as much money as they can get out of them is another matter. :smallwink:

Good luck the humans are that stupid, and don't learn! And that they don't use their advantage in the corn and cattle business to do the same sort of thing to the dwarves.


As for the rock coming out in suitable shapes, making those shapes from larger boulders could be part of an apprentice stonemasons/miners initial training, so they get used to handling the tools without the risks of damaging more valuable stone, or accidentally causing a cave in. Or miners who're too old, or who've been injured in a cave in and can no longer mine, could earn money by dealing with the spoil. Or that spoil handling could be done by the miner's spouses (both wives and husbands), or criminals (especially if the prisoners have to pay for their food etc while imprisoned).

Now this is a big one. Stone doesn't come out of mountain mines in the shape of large boulders. It comes out in the shape of gravel. There's good reasons that stone quarries tend to be open air affairs, because you need an awful lot of elbow space. Now, you could, conceivably, with sufficient expenditure of time and resources mine stone blocks in a shape that could be good for construction. Or you could, incredibly easier, do this stone production next to the surface away from the mines, and use the resulting holes as a convenient place to get rid of all the rubble from digging your city.

Sartharina
2014-07-28, 04:39 PM
@ Storm_Of_Snow: Let's take alook at your reason-excuses, then, if you don't see it.



Enough beautifully carved rock for one prestige project that's stood milennia. Doesn't sound like a seller's market to me, nor like something that was done regularly enough to start a trade on it.Dwarves last millenia as well. They've got the stone and engineers to sell such prestige projects throughout the world.




If there is a good enough reason they may try. Hunger is a good reason. Let's look at some other... reasons.Prestige is another reason.


We need to add quite the string of ifs. This high demand is not a given by a long shot. If the humans don't have a fortification already. If the local leader is interested in building such a fortification, so there must be some sort of potential conflict in the area. If the leader has not chosen other options for the fortifications than building it from the stone you're interested in selling (I don't see what's so wrong with sandstone, for example. While softer than many other sorts of stone, it's been used for fortifications without problems. It's not too light or soft to make a tall, thick wall with.) Brick is another great material. Fortifications have been made from plenty of less sturdy things, from simple earthworks to wooden palisades. And if the dwarves conveniently live in the most practical place to have a stone quarry for this fortification anyway. Otherwise make your own stone with cheap human labour, it's hardly rocket surgery (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/ThisAintRocketSurgery).
Once built, a stone fortification tends to last. Parts of them may get broken down in the occasional siege, but most of the stone can be reused easily, even if the place is torn down deliberately by a conquerer. To add to that, the dwarves in your scheme have to produce the stone anyway. This sounds like a buyer's market. And we haven't addressed the moving of all this stone yet. While not impossible, it all adds to the cost.Human labor for mining stone is MUCH more expensive than dwarves, due to terrible efficiency - and, then you have to mine it for a purpose, instead of buying dwarven surplus for cheaper. Humans always have plenty of conflict - even siblings tend to fight each other. Plop two human communities next to each other, and they'll be fighting unless a higher power comes along to slap them into peace.


Once you've sold your 100 tons of slate to the handful of families able (and willing) to pay for that kind of roof, you can't sell any more for two hundred years. Perhaps more importantly, if the dwarves are literally living in slate, it's obviously not going to be a rare commodity in the area. The same goes for marble and so forth.Dwarven markets can wait the 200 years for new purchasers to come along.



Or the rich could hire mercenaries to kill dwarves for status, which would be just as plausible an excuse, but obviously to the detriment of dwarves rather than their advantage. The dwarves need to get rid of rocks, and the humans happen to be willing to buy them for entirely non-practical reasons? This is getting into the far-fetched territory I was alluding to.This one's hilarious. Want to know what Dwarves call people marching armies to kill them? Christmas (http://dwarffortresswiki.org/index.php/DF2014:Goblin_christmas). This sort of transaction is to the benefit of the dwarves, and detriment of the humans, as they find themselves giving Dwarves lots of free wood, animals(Or at least animal products), already-smelted metal, coin, and food at their own expense.


Good luck the humans are that stupid, and don't learn! And that they don't use their advantage in the corn and cattle business to do the same sort of thing to the dwarves.They do. It's an equitable business practice. Fortunately for the Dwarves, they have a much longer view of the situation, and can play the long game so well that humans don't even know what's going on.


Now this is a big one. Stone doesn't come out of mountain mines in the shape of large boulders. It comes out in the shape of gravel. There's good reasons that stone quarries tend to be open air affairs, because you need an awful lot of elbow space. Now, you could, conceivably, with sufficient expenditure of time and resources mine stone blocks in a shape that could be good for construction. Or you could, incredibly easier, do this stone production next to the surface away from the mines, and use the resulting holes as a convenient place to get rid of all the rubble from digging your city.You're talking about human mines and quarries, which tend to be highly inefficient. We're talking about superior Dwarven mining and quarrying methods.

nedz
2014-07-28, 05:33 PM
Barnsley, or possibly the Welsh valleys. Basically any traditional mining town/sprawl.

Storm_Of_Snow
2014-07-29, 04:16 AM
Thanks Sartharina, I think you said it better than I ever could.

But to add a couple of points:



Once you've sold your 100 tons of slate to the handful of families able (and willing) to pay for that kind of roof, you can't sell any more for two hundred years. Perhaps more importantly, if the dwarves are literally living in slate, it's obviously not going to be a rare commodity in the area. The same goes for marble and so forth.

To start with, the Dwarves aren't selling in their local area, or at least not that much, mostly because they're going to be in control of that area. They're selling to the towns and cities tens, if not hundreds of miles away (which is why, if you look back at one of my earliest posts on this thread, I said that Dwarves also need canals).


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slate#Slate_extraction[/url]
Most slate in Europe comes from Spain. Indeed, it is the world's largest producer and exporter of natural slate and 90% of Europes's natural slate used for roofing originates from the slate industry there.


And you know what's great about humans from a Dwarves perspective? They breed - not quite like rabbits, but certainly quicker than Dwarves. And they fight amongst themselves, destroying what they created (and coincidentally resulting in an increase in the birth rate due to "war babies").

So there's always new human construction going on, and thus always new sales to make.

And frankly, considering any spoil (which is what we were originally talking about, whether that's large pieces of stone, useful materials like slate and granite, or just gravel that can be shipped out and used to make roads) is a waste product of the Dwarves mining to build their settlements or excavate mineral ores, precious metal ores and gemstones, they could sell it at prices that would undercut pretty much anyone, so it's not a handful of people that are able to buy it.

And, to cover prices, yes, the lord of the Hold or the head of the mining guild could jack the price up, the same as the grain cartel could jack their prices up - and the same as any trader is free to set the price of their goods, and their customers are free to buy their goods or buy them from another source - say the hold on the next mountain over.

It's called capitalism. And if the Dwarves and Humans havn't signed contracts lasting decades, setting prices and quantities per year, and with harsh penalties for those that break the terms of the contract, then that's their problem.

Another point is specialisation - if you've got Dwarves living up in the mountains mining more efficiently than humans ever could, and they have been doing so for hundreds, if not thousands of years, why bother having lots of human miners?

Yes, there'd be some human miners, but they'd be relatively few in number and working in human moutain settlements. And if all the Miners are guilded, having learnt their trade from the Dwarves, well, good luck finding anyone worth employing who'll work for you if you try and go outside the guild's remit.

(And BTW, Rocket Science, or even Rocket Surgery, is nothing compared to Rocket Engineering :smallwink: ).

hymer
2014-07-29, 07:23 AM
Dwarves last millenia as well. They've got the stone and engineers to sell such prestige projects throughout the world.

I have two sources on dwarf age within reach, Tolkien and D&D. In Middle-earth, Dwarves can live to about 250 years, In D&D 3.5, a dwarf can live to be 352-390, and in 2nd edition 252-450. Dwarves generally do not last millennia to my knowledge. Unless you mean the species, in which case humans do so as well.
What kind of globalized world are these dwarves youíre imagining living in? How many people are in it that have the resources and interest in hiring large numbers of outside labour for prestige projects? More below.


Prestige is another reason.

Letís look at some historical examples. Marble quarries did fairly well in selling to Romans when they were great and had conquered the world as they knew it. A lot of these quarries were owned by Romans, they had after all conquered the lands they bought from as like as not, but some no doubt were still operated by the original owners. But even for obscenely wealthy Roman patricians and senators, making work for Romans was a huge part of why they did it, so there was certainly no sense in hiring large numbers of outside workers. The marble they could not get anywhere else, so they bought that. Iím sure there was also the occasional Greek architect or Egyptian engineer, but neither country had any large scale economy predicated on building things in Rome, even when the Romans were proverbially turning their brick city into marble.
The Egyptians also built like mad (the pyramids are impressive, but were built over a period of 2000 years. And theyíre still there if their stones have not been recycled.), but it wouldnít be the glory of Egypt if it had been built by dwarves, now would it?
Certainly, rich people sometimes do strange things with their wealth, like hiring some foreign group to make something wonderful, but dwarves who base their economy on things that fickle are not being as savvy as one should expect Ė especially for people who live longer than their patrons. I can certainly see a travelling dwarven architect, whose work is wanted everywhere they know of him, but is his home cityís exports based on him being able to get work? I think not.


Human labor for mining stone is MUCH more expensive than dwarves, due to terrible efficiency - and, then you have to mine it for a purpose, instead of buying dwarven surplus for cheaper. Humans always have plenty of conflict - even siblings tend to fight each other. Plop two human communities next to each other, and they'll be fighting unless a higher power comes along to slap them into peace.

Those are handwaves, not reasons. For one thing, human labour may well be virtually free. People building large fortifications were states or feudal lords more than anything else, and they donít pay their peasants if they donít want to. Even if they are paid, humans from a relatively poor society is certainly paid less than dwarves from a relatively rich one. I expect we agree that the dwarves are the rich guys here?
It takes a week to build up competence as a stonecutter well enough that you only need a few trained overseers in the quarry. After a year a worker is ready to be an overseer yourself, if theyíve shown a little promise.
Dwarves are more efficient? In what way? Are the humans going to run out of ground? How often sine the tower of Babel have large building projects ended because of humans bickering with each other, especially when theyíre working on fortifying their lands? Where are the people in charge while the workers aren't working? And why donít dwarves get into conflicts with each other? Theyíre proud and stubborn, even more so than humans as a rule.
No doubt the individual dwarf is going to be more productive than the individual human, but this is not work that requires highly skilled labour. Once youíve made ten pieces of workable stone, you know how itís done. Just put more humans to work, and they will get things done at the rate you need.


Dwarven markets can wait the 200 years for new purchasers to come along.

No. Dwarves need to eat just like humans. They need customers. And donít forget that this is waste product youíre talking about. What do you do with it for 200 years? If you just have it lie around, it degrades at the same speed as the roof.


This one's hilarious. Want to know what Dwarves call people marching armies to kill them? Christmas (http://dwarffortresswiki.org/index.php/DF2014:Goblin_christmas). This sort of transaction is to the benefit of the dwarves, and detriment of the humans, as they find themselves giving Dwarves lots of free wood, animals(Or at least animal products), already-smelted metal, coin, and food at their own expense.

In most fantasy worlds I know of, humans are a dominant species, and the dwarves are not. Middle-earth, Forgotten Realms, Warhammer, they seem to be in decline more often than not.
However successful the dwarves may be militarily, they wonít be selling to people theyíre fighting. But all that matters less, because I gave it as an example of the kind of reason-excuse Iím objecting to.


They do. It's an equitable business practice. Fortunately for the Dwarves, they have a much longer view of the situation, and can play the long game so well that humans don't even know what's going on.

This isnít long term stocks weíre talking about. The dwarves have stone (or rather gravel) which the humans might want, but do not need to live. The humans, on the other hand, have what the dwarves need to live those longer lives - food.


You're talking about human mines and quarries, which tend to be highly inefficient. We're talking about superior Dwarven mining and quarrying methods.

As mentioned above, this handwaving, not explaining. You could just as easily have said that dwarves sweat gold because they live in such a mineral rich environment. Itíd be another reason for the fabulous wealth of dwarves that is more excuse-reasons than worldbuilding explanations.
Thereís no need to come up with strange, unbelievable ideas of how the dwarves can sell the ground they all live on to the humans. That spoils more than it helps suspension of disbelief. Dwarves are wealthy because they have many mines, know how to work them, and they know how to work the metal into anything they want, which they then sell to the humans and buy a lot more food than they could grow with the same labour in their own lands. This is a perfectly satisfactory and believable explanation for dwarf wealth, which mirrors many situations of the world we live in. I have no idea why youíre so adamant that dwarves must sell the rock waste product.


To start with, the Dwarves aren't selling in their local area, or at least not that much, mostly because they're going to be in control of that area. They're selling to the towns and cities tens, if not hundreds of miles away (which is why, if you look back at one of my earliest posts on this thread, I said that Dwarves also need canals).

The dwarves should consider themselves lucky if there is a human settlement within 100 miles of their home. It is likely that humans will eventually settle nearby for the trade, if itís habitable for humans. If the dwarves are really lucky, the human settlement will be a port, which hooks them up to a larger trade network.
Now, in your mindís eye, see a medieval roofing transport setting sail. Whatís wrong with this picture?
Canals are good for bringing recurring heavy trade around in flat enough inlands. Dwarves donít usually live in the flattest of country, but there will be canals, sure. Itís quicker than carts, certainly. Referring to Sartharinaís assertion that dwarves can wait 200 years between using them may be stretching it. But they will have other things to sell no doubt, than their own mining waste. And sure, if they can actually find someone to buy that waste, why wouldnít they?
But mining waste is generally not useful. Itís gravel. You can pick it up just about anywhere. Even in this day and age, with electric diesel trains and huge ships that take thousands and thousands of tons of material about, we donít transport average gravel any longer than we absolutely must. Five hundred miles from where Iím sitting, the average wage is less than a seventh of what it is here. I suspect the costs of producing gravel there are similarly lower. And yet we dig our own gravel.
Just about anything a dwarf could get up to would be more profitable than to export gravel, even if the transportation costs don't ruin it.


And you know what's great about humans from a Dwarves perspective? They breed - not quite like rabbits, but certainly quicker than Dwarves. And they fight amongst themselves, destroying what they created (and coincidentally resulting in an increase in the birth rate due to "war babies").

So there's always new human construction going on, and thus always new sales to make.

Even if you grant this premise of perpetual and hugely destructive warfare that simultaneously increases population, even if you grant that what comes out of mines is useful stone and not gravel, stone doesnít burn. Stone survives war easily. They recycled bricks from Dresden and Stalingrad to rebuild. You donít have to buy stone for a whole new city wall, just enough to plug the two or three breaches that got made, if there was more than one. Not that youíre going to have a lot of money to spend if your city just got sacked.


And frankly, considering any spoil (which is what we were originally talking about, whether that's large pieces of stone, useful materials like slate and granite, or just gravel that can be shipped out and used to make roads) is a waste product of the Dwarves mining to build their settlements or excavate mineral ores, precious metal ores and gemstones, they could sell it at prices that would undercut pretty much anyone, so it's not a handful of people that are able to buy it.

See my note on transportation costs above. The price of producing gravel is virtually nil to a feudal lord.


And, to cover prices, yes, the lord of the Hold or the head of the mining guild could jack the price up, the same as the grain cartel could jack their prices up - and the same as any trader is free to set the price of their goods, and their customers are free to buy their goods or buy them from another source - say the hold on the next mountain over.

It's called capitalism. And if the Dwarves and Humans havn't signed contracts lasting decades, setting prices and quantities per year, and with harsh penalties for those that break the terms of the contract, then that's their problem.

So you agree with me that price gouging is not a boon for dwarves, but a fact of life for them and for those they trade with Ė that it cuts both ways? The humans that are wealthy are likely to be so from trading with dwarves, they would have every reason to retaliate to gouging - especially since they sell life, while the dwarves sell wealth.


Another point is specialisation - if you've got Dwarves living up in the mountains mining more efficiently than humans ever could, and they have been doing so for hundreds, if not thousands of years, why bother having lots of human miners?

Yes, there'd be some human miners, but they'd be relatively few in number and working in human moutain settlements. And if all the Miners are guilded, having learnt their trade from the Dwarves, well, good luck finding anyone worth employing who'll work for you if you try and go outside the guild's remit.

Weíre talking about quarries, and whether dwarves can sell their waste product from excavating their city. Of course dwarf miners, smelters and smiths are more productive in general than humans. So? If the dwarves are being unreasonable in this (by your own suggestion it could be a matter of national defence), that is all the more reason to build up the capacity to do it yourself. Which is not hard.

Sartharina
2014-07-29, 09:38 AM
I have two sources on dwarf age within reach, Tolkien and D&D. In Middle-earth, Dwarves can live to about 250 years, In D&D 3.5, a dwarf can live to be 352-390, and in 2nd edition 252-450. Dwarves generally do not last millennia to my knowledge. Unless you mean the species, in which case humans do so as well.
What kind of globalized world are these dwarves youíre imagining living in? How many people are in it that have the resources and interest in hiring large numbers of outside labour for prestige projects? More below.How much loyalty do you have to the ideals and dreams of your great-great-great grandparents? Do you even have any idea who they are? Dwarves are closer to their ancestors than humans are, and their legacies last longer.




Letís look at some historical examples. Marble quarries did fairly well in selling to Romans when they were great and had conquered the world as they knew it. A lot of these quarries were owned by Romans, they had after all conquered the lands they bought from as like as not, but some no doubt were still operated by the original owners. But even for obscenely wealthy Roman patricians and senators, making work for Romans was a huge part of why they did it, so there was certainly no sense in hiring large numbers of outside workers. The marble they could not get anywhere else, so they bought that. Iím sure there was also the occasional Greek architect or Egyptian engineer, but neither country had any large scale economy predicated on building things in Rome, even when the Romans were proverbially turning their brick city into marble.
The Egyptians also built like mad (the pyramids are impressive, but were built over a period of 2000 years. And theyíre still there if their stones have not been recycled.), but it wouldnít be the glory of Egypt if it had been built by dwarves, now would it?
Certainly, rich people sometimes do strange things with their wealth, like hiring some foreign group to make something wonderful, but dwarves who base their economy on things that fickle are not being as savvy as one should expect Ė especially for people who live longer than their patrons. I can certainly see a travelling dwarven architect, whose work is wanted everywhere they know of him, but is his home cityís exports based on him being able to get work? I think not.It's a team-for-hire. The human empires are the designers and commissioners of great works of art, but the dwarves are the suppliers of the material and some of the engineering talent. Humans still do the building.



Those are handwaves, not reasons. For one thing, human labour may well be virtually free. People building large fortifications were states or feudal lords more than anything else, and they donít pay their peasants if they donít want to. Even if they are paid, humans from a relatively poor society is certainly paid less than dwarves from a relatively rich one. I expect we agree that the dwarves are the rich guys here?
It takes a week to build up competence as a stonecutter well enough that you only need a few trained overseers in the quarry. After a year a worker is ready to be an overseer yourself, if theyíve shown a little promise.
Dwarves are more efficient? In what way? Are the humans going to run out of ground? How often sine the tower of Babel have large building projects ended because of humans bickering with each other, especially when theyíre working on fortifying their lands? Where are the people in charge while the workers aren't working? And why donít dwarves get into conflicts with each other? Theyíre proud and stubborn, even more so than humans as a rule.
No doubt the individual dwarf is going to be more productive than the individual human, but this is not work that requires highly skilled labour. Once youíve made ten pieces of workable stone, you know how itís done. Just put more humans to work, and they will get things done at the rate you need.




No. Dwarves need to eat just like humans. They need customers. And donít forget that this is waste product youíre talking about. What do you do with it for 200 years? If you just have it lie around, it degrades at the same speed as the roof.It takes 200 years for them to rebuild the stocks. And, no, slate in environmentally-controlled storage does NOT degrade at the same speed as slate exposed to the elements.



In most fantasy worlds I know of, humans are a dominant species, and the dwarves are not. Middle-earth, Forgotten Realms, Warhammer, they seem to be in decline more often than not.
However successful the dwarves may be militarily, they wonít be selling to people theyíre fighting. But all that matters less, because I gave it as an example of the kind of reason-excuse Iím objecting to.If the dwarves are fighting, they're using the stuff they're producing. Dwarves are on the decline and humans are on the rise because they're usually at peace. Dwarves are falling into complacency because no other force is adaptable enough to challenge them, so they do stupid stuff like flooding their fortresses with magma, or dig into Hell to try and colonize it. Or start trying to inhabit regions where rain is blood and foul mists, dusts, and storms course over the land rotting everything they touch and turning them into nigh-invulnerable undead - which the dwarves then try to re-direct to fight demons.


This isnít long term stocks weíre talking about. The dwarves have stone (or rather gravel) which the humans might want, but do not need to live. The humans, on the other hand, have what the dwarves need to live those longer lives - food.Where are you getting that dwarves cannot provide their own food? The food humans provide are luxury items.


As mentioned above, this handwaving, not explaining. You could just as easily have said that dwarves sweat gold because they live in such a mineral rich environment. Itíd be another reason for the fabulous wealth of dwarves that is more excuse-reasons than worldbuilding explanations.
Thereís no need to come up with strange, unbelievable ideas of how the dwarves can sell the ground they all live on to the humans. That spoils more than it helps suspension of disbelief. Dwarves are wealthy because they have many mines, know how to work them, and they know how to work the metal into anything they want, which they then sell to the humans and buy a lot more food than they could grow with the same labour in their own lands. This is a perfectly satisfactory and believable explanation for dwarf wealth, which mirrors many situations of the world we live in. I have no idea why youíre so adamant that dwarves must sell the rock waste product.They don't need to sell the rock waste product, but they can. Also, they need the stone from their mines to make the massive megaprojects like above-ground fortresses, lava/magma cannons (Actually more like magma hose, since they can't get much pressure in the circuits), and huge statues. You can say it's handwaving that dwarven mining results in stone instead of gravel, but it's an observed phenomenon.


The dwarves should consider themselves lucky if there is a human settlement within 100 miles of their home. It is likely that humans will eventually settle nearby for the trade, if itís habitable for humans. If the dwarves are really lucky, the human settlement will be a port, which hooks them up to a larger trade network.
Now, in your mindís eye, see a medieval roofing transport setting sail. Whatís wrong with this picture?
Canals are good for bringing recurring heavy trade around in flat enough inlands. Dwarves donít usually live in the flattest of country, but there will be canals, sure. Itís quicker than carts, certainly. Referring to Sartharinaís assertion that dwarves can wait 200 years between using them may be stretching it. But they will have other things to sell no doubt, than their own mining waste. And sure, if they can actually find someone to buy that waste, why wouldnít they?
But mining waste is generally not useful. Itís gravel. You can pick it up just about anywhere. Even in this day and age, with electric diesel trains and huge ships thaat take thousands and thousands of tons of material about, we donít transport average gravel any longer than we absolutely must. Five hundred miles from where Iím sitting, the average wage is less than a seventh of what it is here. I suspect the costs of producing gravel there are similarly lower. And yet we dig our own gravel.
Just about anything a dwarf could get up to would be more profitable than to export gravel, even if the transportation costs don't ruin it.Human mining waste is Gravel. Dwarven mining waste is functional stone, because they find it easier to create a single block of hundreds of pounds and move it, than to spend the time needed to break it down and then move it, then try to build it up again (Which they tend to do a lot, since they need stone for resurfacing and construction). And dwarves largely just haul stone around, or use minecarts. They don't need to use canals when they can make boats that run on land even better.


Even if you grant this premise of perpetual and hugely destructive warfare that simultaneously increases population, even if you grant that what comes out of mines is useful stone and not gravel, stone doesnít burn. Stone survives war easily. They recycled bricks from Dresden and Stalingrad to rebuild. You donít have to buy stone for a whole new city wall, just enough to plug the two or three breaches that got made, if there was more than one. Not that youíre going to have a lot of money to spend if your city just got sacked.
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See my note on transportation costs above. The price of producing gravel is virtually nil to a feudal lord.Which is why we're not talking about gravel, but stone.


So you agree with me that price gouging is not a boon for dwarves, but a fact of life for them and for those they trade with Ė that it cuts both ways? The humans that are wealthy are likely to be so from trading with dwarves, they would have every reason to retaliate to gouging - especially since they sell life, while the dwarves sell wealth.Gouging for the sake of gouging is not actually very common - most of the reasons of preference and slightly-higher prices (Than it could be - still undercutting most human labor) is from expertise and availability.


Weíre talking about quarries, and whether dwarves can sell their waste product from excavating their city. Of course dwarf miners, smelters and smiths are more productive in general than humans. So? If the dwarves are being unreasonable in this (by your own suggestion it could be a matter of national deafence), that is all the more reason to build up the capacity to do it yourself. Which is not hard.Dwarves don't use quarries as humans think of them - their mines provide all the stone they need, and then some.

hymer
2014-07-29, 10:57 AM
I'm just writing to acknowledge that I read the previous post. I doubt anyone other than the three participants will, and since we're highly unlikely to move forward from here, I don't think I shall spend much more effort. Thanks for the chat!

Pronounceable
2014-07-29, 11:35 AM
Because of this thread, I'm now envisioning dwarves as plantbased creatures who consume CO2 by their beards to live and all that forging and smithing done in small underground caves is so they can keep breathing. Their beards wither and die if they stay too long on surface.

Also, they resort to smoking as a last resort when lacking enough smog in their air.

braveheart
2014-07-29, 12:40 PM
I imagine a Dwarven city to have only one entrance, at the surface that allows access to what I will call "the stairwell" a massive spiraling slope that surrounds a massive vertical channel, the diameter and depth of the channel would vary depending upon the size of the city, however I imagine the largest ones to be 200' in diameter and thousands of feet deep, the spiraling slope would be wide enough to allow at least 2 wagons to pass, wider for larger cities. near the top of "the stairwell" would be access to shops and other trade related goods, all carved into the rock just off of "the stairwell" this would allow for easy access to trade with humans, elves, and other sentient races. also near the top would be tunnels leading from "the staircase" to underground greenhouses for growing food. below these upper levels would be an immense mechanism to seal off the rest of the city from the outside world, blocking "the staircase" completely. In the middle levels would be both residential and dining facilities. And the lowest levels would be reserved for mining, with the central forge being located in the center of the channel at the bottom level.