Bolga Crag Settlement in Kelbonnar | World Anvil

Bolga Crag

One of the largest Duergar city-states in the Upper Underdark, Bolga Crag is one of the leading voices in the Duergar alliance, the Conclave of Hvanmara. What gives Bolga Crag such a leading position in the Conclave is that at the centre of the city is the Iron Temple, the largest temple, or any other religious structure for that matter, dedicated to the god of forging, crafting and industry Hvanmara in the Underdark.


Like many Duergar settlements, Bolga Crag has a rather egalitarian feel to it, with almost all of the population being engaged in decently paid labour, with only a fraction of the populace being deemed to be destitute. Of course, there are individuals who are wealthier than others, but the strict family hierarchies and ingrained sense of family solidarity amongst the Duergar mean that in many cases it can be hard to distinguish the wealthy from those of more modest means.   Bolga Crag is regarded as a single species settlement, with over 98% of its inhabitants being Duergar, with the remaining 2% being a small number of individuals of different species, who have chosen to settle in the city, and who have, more importantly, been accepted by the local populace.


Bolga Crag operates under a hybrid system of an elected barony. In short, every twenty years, all of the families within the city can put forward a candidate for selection to the position of Baron of Bolga Crag. The heads of each Duergar family then vote, though they cannot vote for their own candidate, with the candidates with the fewest votes being eliminated. This continues in as many rounds as necessary to result in the election of a single Duergar, male or female as the Baron.   Once elected, the Baron is in absolute control of the city, though they are advised by a council made up of the heads of all of the Duergar families within the city. However, this council is advisory only, and all decisions ultimately rest with the Baron.   In addition, should a Baron die in office, the position is regarded as being hereditary within the family that the Baron belonged to, so it is possible, indeed has been known to happen on several occasions, that a Baron dies during their term, is replaced by a successor from within the same family, who then goes on to stand for re-election in the next election cycle.


As well as its naturally defensible position atop the rock shelf on which the city is based, Bolga Crag has further been defended by a stone curtain wall, complete with towers at regular intervals that curves all around the city’s northern, eastern and southern side, with the western side being the sheer rock wall of the cavern in which the whole city and its surroundings are housed in. Several hold-fast positions have also been established in the north, east and south of the city, where its people can go for shelter and an even more defensible position, should the city be breached or infiltrated.   To defend the city, Bolga Crag has a garrison of nearly 1,000 well-armed and trained troops, with the general population of the city having also received basic training so that they can act as a militia in times of crisis.

Industry & Trade

Bolga Crag is a key point on the trading routes of the Upper Underdark as it is known for its production of high quality steel and the production of quality iron and steel tools and equipment. Some limited manufacturing of weapons and armour does take place in the city, but this is generally for local consumption, but much of the steel that Bolga Crag produces is transported to its sister city, the Brass Keep, which is regarded as one of the foremost manufacturers of armaments in the Underdark .


As a city that heavily involved in the industrial processing of iron ore and the creation of iron goods and steel, Bolga Crag has an immensely sophisticated infrastructure system to ensure that materials and goods move smoothly through the city. As well as a road map laid out on the grid system, beneath the surface the Duergar  have constructed an intricate network of tunnels with rails down which raw materials can be moved via mine-cart without obstructing the day to day traffic of the city above.   In addition, the western section of the city has been almost entirely put aside for the ore processing and forge works, ensuring that materials do not need to be inefficiently moved across the city and this industrial section has its own entrance and exit, a tunnel excavated through the rock and curving down to the ground level beneath the southern section of the outcrop on which the city stands. This entrance is predominantly used by merchants who travel to the city to buy the steel and metal goods produced there.   In addition, skilfully interwoven with the transport tunnels, Bolga Crag has a sewage system, that harnesses natural run off from the Silver Lake to the east to continuously flush sewage and waste away from the city and into a network of disused mining tunnels.

Guilds and Factions

Unlike in other communities, where likeminded groups of people, or external organisations form factions within a town or city, in Bolga Crag faction lines are drawn along family lines. Duergar have incredibly strong family ties, and so regardless of what an individual may do for a living, or who they tend to interact with, their loyalty is first of all to their city-state and secondly to their family. This means that the various Duergar families play a heavy role in the politics of Bolga Crag and larger, older or more influential families can effectively control others through family alliances and debts, and several families within the city are even in de facto control over large swathes of Bolga Crag.


Not unusually for many Duergar settlements, most of Bolga Crag’s buildings are rather utilitarian in form and style, with most appearing as little more than stone cubes, albeit, cubes that have been very sturdily and neatly constructed. As there is no natural rain in the Underdark, most of these buildings have flat roofs, which are used as additional living or storage spaces by their occupants. Whilst their physical fabric and form may appear rather uninspired, most residential buildings are decorated with intricate iron work, which is mounted all along their walls and often on their roofs.   In most cases, the city’s industrial buildings look very much like their residential counterparts, just on a larger scale and with the addition of intricate, tube like chimneys that funnel smoke and fumes into tunnels that naturally emerged from the rock face above the town, ensuring that the pollutants do not settle amongst the city’s other buildings.   The exception to the utilitarian style of most of Bolga Crag’s buildings is the Iron Temple, an enormous structure, built out of solid iron, burnished to a mirror sheen and protected from rust and tarnish by magic, that is the largest temple known to exist dedicated to the god Hvanmara in the Underdark. Whilst its core structure is cuboid in form, it is surrounded by an iron colonnade and it has a pitched roof that has been shingled with polished brass. The temple, which is set in the middle of the city, is set on an artificial stone podium, accessed by polished iron stairs, so that it stands above the buildings surrounding it.


The city of Bolga Crag is set on a large, natural rock shelf that overlooks the Silver Lake in the Upper Underdark. Bolga Crag is set on the western side of the lake, with the western side of the city built right up against the rock wall of the cavern and its southern, northern and eastern sides being naturally marked by the edge of the rock shelf. An extensive network of tunnels snakes beneath the city, into the rock shelf it is set upon and deeper, created by the efforts of its Duergar population to extract the iron that drives the city’s economy and the coal used to fuel the forges.

Natural Resources

Bolga Crag has been constructed, deliberately, atop of two large deposits of coal and iron that have proved to be near inexhaustible. They have been mined ever since the Duergar moved into the region, and they show no signs of running out, much to the delight of the people of Bolga Crag, as these twin resources are the lifeblood of the city.
Alternative Name(s)
Hvanmara's Forge
Inhabitant Demonym
Location under
Owning Organization

Cover image: by Chris Pyrah


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