First, I guess? I don't have a whole lot of time for this, so I figured I might as well get it over with quickly
Figured I'd set the bar for the rest of you; now lets see those better entries.
Good luck everyone!
The Deepshard Mines and Smithy
HISTORY OF DEEPSHARD
Seventy years ago, a large gold vein was found in the Karunai Mountains by a group of Dwarven prospectors. It was deep, one of the deepest they'd found so far.
Within months, mining began and around the mines a town was built, under the name of Deepshard. Here, Dwarven Miners lived and worked, removing fabulous amounts of Gold from the ground.
However, due to the speed and skill of the Dwarves, within 50 years the mine was cleaned out and the town abandoned.
For almost 15 years, nobody came to Deepshard, and it was a ghost town. But then, a powerful Dwarven Mage under the name of Rangrim the Stonerender purchased the mines, and used his mystical might to dig deeper into the earth, far below even the deepest veins of gold. And there it was, that he found the greatest treasure ever... a mine full of Adamantium, larger then the world had ever seen.
The town sprang back to life, greater and more magical then ever, as Wizards arrived to design the special tools to cut the Adamantium to managable pieces, and the toughest Dwarven Miners arrived to hack it free and smelt it down for production.
But it is Rangrim who holds the deed to the mine, and he never sold the ore. Instead, he built an enormous smithy directly against the mines, and melted down the Adamantium for himself, and started accepting orders to produce any kind of Adamant item a wealthy enough buyer would commission. These days, when someone is looking for an unbreakable armor or weapon, the most expensive kind of wedding ring, fabulous jewelry, or anything else made from this once rarest of metals, they come to Deepshard.
Of course, being a greedy Dwarf, Rangrim is well aware of this, and hasn't lowered the old prices of Adamant by much, only just enough to put most of his competition out of business. He and his smiths do produce excellent quality wares, and most of the Material Plane has simply accepted that he is the one to go to for Adamantine gear.
THE DEEPSHARD SMITHY
The smithy that sells all these items is a majestic sight to behold; in order to evoke the awe Rangrim wants his smithy to have, the very doors and even most of the outer walls are crafted from Adamantine. Beautiful grafts in the traditional, blocky style of the dwarves surround it, most depicting either Dwarven Smiths at work, or various items the smithy produces.
It is a large structure with many chimneys from which smoke pours at all times, mostly black, but occasionaly in vibrant colors as the more magical commissioned goods are produced.
The rear side of the Smithy is built straight against the mountain wall, shielding off all access to the mines unless one goes through the smithy itself.
Once you enter the smithy through the massive doors (that are always open), you enter the welcoming hall, which is massive, with a beautiful tiled mosaic floor in red, gold, and blue, filled with exotic plants, comfortable benches, and always full of people, both buyers (often nobles or other wealthy folks, adventurers in mystical armor, but also otherwordly creatures such as Genies, Angels and sometimes even Devils; the smithy caters to anyone willing to pay) and workfolk (lots of smiths and miners, the occasional mage). In the center of the welcoming hall stands a statue of Rangrim, 30 foot high, and cast fully from Adamantine.
Various greeters will offer the customers a seat, a drink (good wines and great dwarven beers, as well as other exotic beverages, all on the house) while they wait for one of the master smiths that will help them with their order.
There are three doors in this hall. One leads to the furnaces, that opens with a roar and blast of heat whenever a smith enters or leaves. A second door leads to the mines itself, the only thing visible is a short hallway that ends in another Adamantine door, like an airlock.
The third door leads to the commissioning rooms, where the smith will take the new customers to discuss their purchase.
The commissioning rooms are as luxurious as the welcoming hall, and the smith will guide the purchasers through the whole process in a friendly manner, garuanteeing that the smithy can produce anything they want at a fair price. He will offer the buyers more drink, various exotic snacks, and even take them to dinner in the better restaurants in the small town if he think it'll help settle a good deal.
The rooms are decorated with the same dwarven grafts, and contain various example objects the Dwarves can make, including various sets of jewelry, magic arms and armor, basic tools, small statues, implements, and relief paintings.
The smithy is usually off-limits to visitors, although those placing very expensive orders might be granted a short tour if they request it. It contains 12 furnaces, each the size of a small house, that are operated by a dozen smiths each, melting down Adamantium ores and pounding on the metal to complete their orders. Near the rear is another door through which carts full of ore are carried in and brought to the smelters.
Near the corners of the building, four large Golems can be seen, standing motionless, and like most things here, cast from Adamantine.
The mines are strictly off limits to visitors. In the airlock that leads from the smithy to the mine shafts, two more Adamantine Golems stand, out of sight from the smithy, but ever watchful of trespassers. When the second door opens, things become very much different. Behind this door, the old mines lie, and Rangrim hasn't yet invested much time in changing them. Old elevators lead down the mine tracks, and the rail used by the carts of ore is a bit rusty at spots. They go down for roughly a mile and a half through the old mineshaft, before the bottom is reached.
There, the old shafts end and the new shafts begin, which lead straight down into the earth at a roughly 45 degree angle, until they end in a flat stretch.
The shafts have rails placed on the slopes, with stairs next to them for the miners to use. The carts can be pulled up magically, and miners simply have to walk next to them.
The flat stretch is dark, and goes from normal rock one minute, to being adamantium ore the next; the ore is so concetrated that it shines and reflects any light, giving the viewers an awesome spectacle. Here, the miners are busy digging new paths and tunnels, but the ore is everywhere and they seem to be taking a mostly random approach to the whole thing; simply cutting in all directions and sending the tunnel section back up, due to the overwhelming amount of Adamantium ore available.
OWNER OF THE DEEPSHARD SMITHY
Rangrim the Stonerender is an old Dwarf, approaching his 150th birthday. He spent much of his younger years researching and learning at various Arcane institutes througout the land, picking up knowledge of the Arcane Arts. His wealthy family supported and paid for his education, and he never knew being poor.
Rangrim's main interests, like that of many Dwarves, were making money and geology. He is a well known name in that field, and many a mystic tome on the properties of minerals bears his name. He has a copy of most of them in his private office in Deepshard.
When Rangrim finished his studies, he focussed on the worlds beyond, and started researching ways to prospect outer realms for valuables. How he eventually came to buying Deepshard, nobody knows, but he must've been on to something, considering the success he had there.
Rangrim is a greedy man, and making money is his only goal. However, he understands business well, and knows that one must spend money to make money. So, everything he does and has is lavish and luxurious, he dresses in the finest garbs, is easy with gifts and never forgets to offer fine foods when he discusses business. He is also a firm believer in the Dwarven values of family and clan, and sends many gifts to them; the easiest way to spot a Stonerender Dwarf is because he's probably carrying at least one thing made from Adamantine.
Nevertheless; Rangrim would never allow anything to hurt his operations in Deepshard, since they'll make him the wealthiest man on the Plane. He deals with competitors, industrial spies and thieves in the same, ruthless manner. He has hired various private investigators, and not every miner is really a miner.
Rangrim knows he has secrets that have to be kept at all costs, and he will stop at nothing to keep them.
When he meets visitors, he is open and friendly, assisting them always in what they want to have produced. However, he only meets the wealthiest of clients, and is so busy he usually ignores the lower ones, bordering on the rude when they're keeping him busy for more then a few moments. He ha a dislike for other Wizards, mostly because of his secrets he doesn't want out.
OTHER IMPORTANT FIGURES AROUND THE DEEPSHARD SMITHYThorfin Deepdigger
Many years ago, it was Thorfin Deepdigger who first found the Gold veins in the Karunai Mountainrange. These days, he has returned to Deepshard to see for himself what Rangrim was up to. After seeing firsthand the enormous amounts of wealth Rangrim is generating, he broke down a bit. These days, he can mostly be found in the Nugget, a small bar in Deepshard, drinking away his sorrows.
Anyone talking to him will hear the stories of how the mine was empty and how nothing was left in the hills, and how he hates himself for missing this Adamantium. If they keep pushing a bit, he'll start telling of how the Adamantium couldn't even be there, and how it's all a sham, before breaking down in tears.
He also works as one of the miners for Rangrim, although not a very good one. The main reason Rangrim keeps him around, is because Thorfin is closer to the truth then he knows, and Rangrim wants to keep an eye on him.Nobei Veiruth
This Gnome, who is actually a Rakshasa, is one of Rangrim's greeters, welcoming new visitors to the smithy. He is friendly and willing, like most greeters, and quick to have a chat with new buyers about Rangrim and the smithy. He is curious about visitors, mostly because he's trying to figure out who could help him take over the mines.
Nobei works for a large otherwordly organisation and is looking to "relieve" Rangrim of his operation, but Rangrim is good at the legal business and his security is top notch.
So Nobei mostly looks for people that might be willing to overpower the security without drawing attention to him and his organisation, for a share in the (immense) profits the Smithy generates.Grix Brislow
One of the smiths for Rangrim, Grix is the expert on the field of weapons and armor, and most likely to be called out if a PC wants to purchase a powerful weapon from the smithy. He is still young for a Dwarf, not even 70 years old, but has made a big name for himself, having crafted more then one weapon of (local) legend.
He has a long, black beard adorned with fake skulls, and wears a short sword in addition to his smithing tools. Whenever someone wants to purchase a weapon that looks like he knows how to use it, Grix will ask a thousand questions about what they need it for, what they've done so far and how many Orcs they killed.
His dream is to be an adventurer, but he needs the money he's making working for Rangrim to support his fairly poor own clan, who have few people with the talent to make a name for themselves. So, he stays in the smithy to work, cherishing his dreams of one day becoming a real adventurer.Jetthrow Jubilas
Another one of Rangrim's greeters, Jetthrow is a Human who works as a spy for Rangrim and keeps an eye on adventurers that enter the smithy, to make sure they aren't going to try anything foolish. He's a young, charming fellow that's quick to try and seduce any females or tell a tale of daring, to see what he's up against.
He is very loyal to Rangrim, and well payed, and will report all his findings.
The whole mining operation Rangrim is running, is actually a big charade. While the Adamantium is all real, none of it is coming from the Deepshard Mines.
Instead, Rangrim has built a permanent portal to a small section of the Astral Sea that is made almost completely of Adamantium.
He has built this portal and hidden it in the mine to keep it all for himself; after all, one can buy a Prime Material mine, but not claim a section of the Astral Sea.
After creating the portal, Rangrim created a Ritual to hide the whole area from prying eyes; despite already being remote and unknown, he didn't want the people he moved there to mine the area to be detectable. As a result, a mileswide area around the mine is warded by a massive Forbiddance ritual to keep out spying eyes.
Around the portal, Rangrim has taken steps to hide the transmission, so even the miners don't know that they're not mining the Prime Material; the portal is a nearly hidden shimmer (DC 28 Perception to notice) covering a hallway with specks of fake Adamantium (1 minute of handling and DC 24 Dungeoneering to realise they are fake) that moves anything walking in across the planes to the Astral Sea (DC 28 Arcana check to notice the shift at all)
Rangrim will protect his secret to the very end, convinced that if anybody finds out they could just go to the Astral sea to get as much Adamantium as they wanted that his whole operation would be lost.
THE EVEN GREATER SECRET
The Astral Dominion that Rangrim has plugged into isn't just a massive random hunk of Adamantium floating through the Astral Sea. In his lust for wealth, Rangrim is blind to what he's actually digging through; a massive prison area. Contained within the prison is something that could be a threat to all of creation if released (a Primordial, a Deity, or perhaps a Far Realm Cosmic Horror) that is anxiously awaiting to be freed.
Of course, Rangrim would most likely call this nonsense, attempts of people to steal his mine and money from him, if anybody told him.
FIGHTING IN THE DEEPSHARD
In addition to being able to run into nearly anything or anyone as a customer here, ranging from simple bystanders to Pit Fiends, the security system is most likely the greatest threat (most others would rather leave instead of fight, unless provoked)
The most powerful security system is the statue of Rangrim in the welcoming hall, which fights as a Godforged Collussus (Monster Manual I)
In addition, there are a series of powerful Adamantine Golems that serve as defense; four of them in the Furnace rooms and 2 more in the hall that leads from the welcoming room to the mines. Use the stats for an Iron Golem Juggernaut (Monster Manual II) for these.
There is also Rangrim himself, who is a powerful mage and a dangerous foe when provoked. His stat block is provided with this entry.
PLACING THE DEEPSHARD SMITHY IN YOUR SETTING
Placing the town of Deepshard is best done in a somewhat remote but easily reachable area near mountains. Rangrim wants to be away from prying eyes with room
to expand, but not so far that it gets dangerous for people to travel to and from the town.
You could always place it near a simple hill instead, if the mines go down into the ground (like a pit) if you don't have a mountainrange handy.
OPTIONAL ELEMENTS:Main elements:Portal:
The Deepshard Mines contain a (hidden) portal to the Astral SeaReliquary:
The Deepshard Smithy contains enough Adamantine items and ores to fulfill ALL epic level parcels, if need be.Minor elements:Enchanted:
Most of the Deepshard Mines is under the effect of a permanent Forbiddance ritual to prevent scrying eyes.Repurposed:
The old mine shafts still exist, and haven't changed function or purpose
|Rangrim the Stonerender
||Level 28 Elite Artillery
|Medium Natural Humanoid (Dwarf)
Senses Perception +22; Low-light vision
HP 402; Bloodied 201
AC 40; Fortitude 39, Reflex 40, Will 41
Action points: 1
Saving throws: +2
Saves vs Poison: +5
| Staff of the Earth ( Standard, at-will ) Weapon
|Melee 1, +35 vs AC, 3d8+10 damage, the target is pushed 4 squares and slowed (save ends)
|Earthen Grasp ( Minor, at-will )
|Ranged 10, +33 vs Fortitude, 4d8+10 damage and the target is restrained (save ends)
|Rumbling Teleport ( Standard, recharge ) Teleport
|Close burst 2, +33 vs Reflex, 3d8+10 damage and the target is knocked prone. Effect: Rangrim teleports 7 squares.
|Rain of Destruction ( Standard, recharge )
|Area burst 2 within 20, +33 vs Reflex, 5d10+9 damage and the area of the attack is difficult terrain until the end of the encounter.
|Open the Gap ( Standard, encounter )
|Area burst 2 within 20. A 100ft deep pit opens in this area. Characters in the area can make a saving throw to be moved to the edge of the area, failing the save means they fall down the pit. The pit is permanent.
||Languages Common, Dwarven
|Skills Arcana +29, Diplomacy +30, Dungeoneering +27, Nature +27
|Str 21 (+19)
||Dex 27 (+22)
||Wis 27 (+22)
|Con 27 (+22)
||Int 30 (+24)
||Cha 33 (+25)
|Equipment Robes, Staff