Starwatch Keep Building / Landmark in Rolara | World Anvil

Starwatch Keep (Duldurg Kzar: /ˈdʊldɜːrg ˈkzɑːr/)

The Dwarven Necropolis, Duldurg Kzar of the Goblins

In the heart of Rolara, a world steeped in magic and mystery, a relic of a bygone era has emerged. The ancient Dwarf ruin, known as the Starwatch Keep, has been revealed following the eruption of Mount Origin. This architectural marvel, carved from the very bones of the earth, is a testament to the advanced civilization of the dwarves, who once thrived under the glow of the now-extinguished Stars of Power.   The Starwatch Keep is a labyrinth of stone and metal, filled with intricate mechanisms and celestial maps etched into the walls. It was a place of stargazing and celestial observation, where the dwarves measured the movements of the heavens and sought to unravel the mysteries of the cosmos. Now, it stands as a silent monument to their lost wisdom.   Since its revelation, the Starwatch Keep has become a beacon for adventurers, treasure hunters, and those seeking to uncover the secrets of the past. However, it has also attracted less savory elements. Goblins and bandits have taken up residence within its shadowed halls, turning the once-sacred site into a den of thieves and marauders.   The ruin is visible from the rural Human village of Elmlock, its towering silhouette a constant reminder of the world's ancient history. Yet, the villagers speak in hushed tones of a deeper, sealed section within the ruin. This secret sanctum, they say, is a place of great danger and even greater mystery.   The first adventure that awaits within the Starwatch Keep involves the recovery of a sacred artifact: an idol representing the goddess Alessandra. This precious relic was lost within the ruins by the mayor of Elmlock, who had hoped to quell the villagers' fears by demonstrating that there was nothing to fear from the ancient dwarven site. Now, the idol lies somewhere within the labyrinthine ruin, waiting to be reclaimed by those brave enough to face the challenges that await within the Starwatch Keep.

Purpose / Function

The Starwatch Keep was constructed 2537 years ago during the zenith of the dwarven civilization, a time when magic was as common as air and the Stars of Power illuminated the night sky. It was a period of unprecedented growth and discovery, and the dwarves, renowned for their craftsmanship and ingenuity, sought to harness the boundless energy of the cosmos.   The Keep was designed as an astronomical observatory, a place to study the stars and their movements. The dwarves believed that the celestial bodies were not just distant lights but were in fact the physical manifestations of the divine. They saw patterns in the stars, alignments and anomalies that they believed could predict future events and reveal hidden truths about the universe.   The primary purpose of the Starwatch Keep was to observe these celestial patterns and record their findings. The dwarves created intricate mechanisms and tools to measure the stars' positions and movements with astonishing precision. They believed that by understanding the cosmos, they could gain insight into the will of the gods and perhaps even control the raw magic that permeated their world.   However, the Keep also had a secondary, more covert purpose. The dwarves were aware that their knowledge and technology were coveted by other races and factions. The Starwatch Keep was therefore also a stronghold, a place to safeguard their celestial knowledge and magical artifacts. The deeper, sealed section of the Keep was designed as a vault, a place to store their most precious and powerful artifacts, including the idol of Alessandra.   As the Stars of Power were abruptly sealed away, the world of Rolara was plunged into chaos. The once reliable magic began to falter and fail, replaced by unpredictable surges of wild magic. The event was catastrophic, causing a massive upheaval at Mount Origin, the epicenter of the ritual to seal the Stars of Power. The shockwaves of this event were felt far and wide, and Starwatch Keep did not escape its effects.   In a single, fateful night, the Keep transformed from a bustling hub of celestial study to a silent necropolis. The dwarves within, caught in the throes of the wild magic surge, met an untimely end, their bodies forever preserved within the stone halls of their once-great observatory. The deeper, sealed section of the Keep became their crypt, safeguarding not just their celestial knowledge and magical artifacts, but also the final resting place of a civilization that once reached for the stars.   The Starwatch Keep stands today as a poignant reminder of the dwarves' ambition and the unpredictable nature of magic. Its silent halls echo with the lost knowledge of a bygone era, waiting to be discovered by thoe brave enough to venture into its depths.  

Duldurg Kzar

Home of G'ruk Lur, and the Zargluk Council

  In the Goblin language, the Starwatch Keep is referred to as "Duldurg Kzar", which roughly translates to "Skybone Castle". This name reflects their observation of the celestial maps etched into the walls and the massive orrery in the Grand Observatorium, which they perceived as the skeletal remains of the sky. The Goblins, affected by Aetherite, were drawn to the Keep due to its deep connection with the celestial realm and the lingering traces of magic within its stone halls. They found the architecture and intricate mechanisms fascinating and believed the Keep to be a powerful symbol of their newfound status and potential.   The Goblins named their settlement within the Keep "G'ruk Lur", or "Stonehome". They feel a deep connection to the stone halls of the Keep, seeing it as a sanctuary from the dangers of the outside world. They have repurposed the halls and chambers according to their needs, maintaining the Keep in remarkably good condition and preserving its grandeur and mystery.   The ruling organization of the Goblins is known as the "Zargluk Council", with "Zargluk" signifying "wisdom of the stars" in their language. This name was chosen to reflect their belief in the Keep's celestial significance and their aspiration to gain wisdom from its ancient secrets. The council consists of the most respected Goblins who have shown a deep understanding of the Keep's mechanisms and celestial maps. They are responsible for decision-making, maintaining order within the Keep, and resolving conflicts among the tribe.   The Zargluk Council's primary goal is to understand the mysteries of the Keep and harness the raw magic that permeates their new home. They believe that by doing so, they can ensure the survival and prosperity of their tribe and perhaps gain control over the unpredictable surges of wild magic. The council exercises control and influence over the inhabitants by regulating access to certain areas of the Keep and overseeing the maintenance and exploration of the ruins.   The Zargluk Council was formed shortly after the Goblins moved into the Keep. The need for order and leadership within the complex environment of the Keep led to the formation of this council. The council members were chosen based on their knowledge of the Keep and their ability to understand its celestial maps and mechanisms.   The Council aims to preserve the Keep, learn from its ancient wisdom, and use this knowledge for the benefit of the Goblin tribe. They have adopted a policy of careful exploration and preservation, seeking to maintain the Keep's condition while gradually uncovering its secrets. Through this approach, they hope to balance their immediate needs with the potential long-term benefits of understanding and harnessing the Keep's magic.


Starwatch Keep is a testament to the dwarven mastery of stonecraft. The architecture is a blend of the functional and the fantastic, with a style that is uniquely dwarven. The structure is predominantly carved directly into the rock of Mount Origin, with the exterior presenting a formidable, fortress-like appearance. The walls are thick and sturdy, designed to withstand both the elements and potential attacks. The entrance is a grand archway, flanked by towering stone pillars, each intricately carved with geometric patterns and celestial symbols.   The interior of Starwatch Keep is a labyrinth of corridors, chambers, and grand halls, all hewn from the living rock. The ceilings are high, and the walls are adorned with bas relief sculptures that tell the story of the dwarves' celestial explorations. These sculptures depict dwarves observing the stars through complex devices, charting constellations, and conducting magical experiments. The dwarves are shown in various stages of their work, from the initial observation to the final recording of their findings.   One of the most striking features of the Keep is the Grand Observatorium, a vast domed chamber with a massive orrery at its center. The dome itself is a marvel of engineering, carved with a detailed map of the night sky as it was known to the dwarves. The orrery, now still and silent, once replicated the movements of the celestial bodies, its intricate mechanisms powered by magic.   Despite the passage of time and the tragic end of its inhabitants, Starwatch Keep retains a sense of grandeur and mystery. The stone-carved figures seem almost alive in the flickering torchlight, their faces etched with determination and wonder. The Keep stands as a silent monument to the dwarves' quest for knowledge and their deep connection with the celestial realm.
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