Chronicles of Vulcanica: Vale Tenebrous
“They are a noble and honorable people who have found themselves in a time when honor is worthless.”
- Duchess Araona Dren
“Blood. Honor. Strength. Iron.”
- Inscription above the Ironforge’s main gates
A bastion of strength and honor, the Ironforge watches over nearly all of Vulcanica’s southern coast. From Cliffport to Westwater, the Ironforge’s influence can be found, but nowhere is it as strong as it is in Tuari—home of the ancient, magical forge around which the Ironforge religion revolves.
Founded in the early Second Age, Tuari was originally home to a brutal and oppressive Dragonkin tyrant by the name of Archaedes. When he died at the end of the Second Age without having appointed a successor, Tuari found itself without any leadership. Filled to the brim with impoverished and infirm, nearly entirely in ruins as a result of the Shadow War, and largely despised by the rest of the world due to Archaedes’ actions, things did not look good for Tuari. One of the workers who came to assist in the restoration, a Dwarf warrior by the name of Dunbir, was recognized for his incredible leadership and efficiency, and was singled out for attention. Shortly after Dunbir’s status as a “Martyr” (an anachronistic term for those who stood against the Darkness during the Shadow War) came to light, it was only a matter of time before he found himself given charge of the city—a responsibility he did not take lightly.
Following the city’s restoration, Tuari quickly became a city of industry and prosperity. The soil of the Ebonmarsh was rich and fertile, and allowed for many diverse crops to be grown efficiently; and the ground itself was tremendously rich in various ores and gems. When the Ironforge was discovered in an abandoned wing of Archaedes’ palace, there was suddenly a high demand for the iron, carbon, and bronze that miners had been pulling up for generations. The economy exploded, and people all throughout the city and the surrounding region welcomed in a golden age of comfort and health. In a little under fifty years, Dunbir did for Tuari what Archades never could: make his people happy.
The Ironforge itself was found to contain mystical powers, which even today are not fully understood. Capable of smelting iron that is stronger, lighter, and less brittle than steel, every item that emerges from the Ironforge is not only unique, but tremendously valuable. The Iron Priests, trained in both the smithing and use of Ironforged items, are the only ones who know the true secrets to unlocking an Ironforged tool’s full potential.
After Dunbir’s passing, the Ironforge came into new, more aggressive leadership. Though the Ironforge itself had been granted independence from Cinderfell long before the Crimson Coup and the Hell Fire, it was inside of Tuari, which still owed its allegiance to the Empire. The Ironforge’s expansion into Tuari and, later, the rest of the Ebonmarsh—though bloodless—was seen as an unnecessarily aggressive move by many. It was less than a generation before the Ironforge, once known for its peaceful and giving approach to diplomacy, began invading border cities and villages in 291 3A. The reaction was swift, but Dren and Ashlar underestimated the might of the Iron Priests, and what should have been a quick border dispute rapidly flared into a continental war on three fronts.
By the time peace talks began in 296 3A, the Ironforge’s reputation had been thoroughly damaged. Even today, the Ironforge is known for the mistakes of its past, despite recent efforts to the contrary. The current Iron Lord, Arguk, has doubled this effort, even going so far as to bequeath upon foreign leaders and diplomats Ironforge tools—an utterly priceless gift. Though not yet enough to turn his nation’s reputation around, it is helping, and many leaders see Arguk as having wisdom far beyond that of many of his predecessors.
“Crowns are for the valiant — sceptres for the bold!
Thrones and powers for mighty men who dare to take and hold.
‘Nay!’ said the Baron, kneeling in his hall,
‘But Iron — Cold Iron — is master of men all!’”
- Rudyard Kipling.
If you are from The Ironforge…
- … you might have experience with the Ironforge, and may even be an Iron Priest.
- … you probably know your metal well, and are familiar with mining, smelting, and forging a wide variety of ores, metals, and tools—even if you don’t have any skill with the actual process.
- … you almost definitely feel shame for the past actions of the Ironforge, and would like nothing more than to play a part in redeeming your nation’s name in the eyes of the rest of the world.
National Ability: Strength and Honor, Blood and Iron.
Just as the hammer blow strengthens the iron, so too does adversity strengthen your resolve.