the Sakralstek Settlement in Scarterra | World Anvil

the Sakralstek

The Sakralstek or "Great Stone Temple Complex" is a fusion of a temple, a small city, and a fortiifed complex controlled by a faction of Hallisan worshipers known as the Order of the Stone.   The The Great Stone of Meckelorn is said to be the very spot where the god Hallisan pulled the first dwarves out of the earth. This makes the Great Stone of site of great spiritual significance to dwarves.   It also acts as a potent life stone acting as an underground sun able to magically support subteranean plants for miles allowing the area to support a far larger population underground than would otherwise be possible. Thus the Great Stone is a valuable strategic resource as well.


The entire Order of the Stone is considered to be citizens of the temple complex. There are roughly 1000 members of the Order, but at any given time, there are usually only around 400 staff in the temple complex.   Outside the temple complex, the members of the Order of the Stone are commonly escorting pilgrims en route to the Great Stone or training. The temple complex is not big enough for military training exercises, so their warriors usually train elsewhere. The Order also maintains ambassadors with various Hallisan temples in or near dwarven lands from which they recruit most of their new members.   about 95% of them are dwarves with about a 60/40 split of Meckelorner dwarves versus Stahlheimer dwarves. There is one honorary member of the Order of the Stone who is a Mondarian dwarf who every other year leads a ship load of Mondarian pilgrims to the Great Stone.   The few nondwarf members of the Order are Hallisan worshiping gnomes and kalazotz.   There are also a couple hundred permanent resident dwarves that are not part of the Order of the Stone and help with various aspects of managing the realms, cooking meals, manning market stalls and whatnot but they are all carefully screened for their piety and moral character.


The senior members of the Order of the Stone vote on one of their members to be the leader of the Sakralstek, and this position is held for life, but the leader is not an autocrat. Unless the scenario is urgent, most decisions are carefully discussed by all the senior ranking members.   Dwarves are very tradition bound and Hallisan worshipers are very tradition bound, but governance in the Sakralstek is surprisingly informal all things considered based on norms rather than rules. A lot of day-to-day decisions and operations are based on "doing things the way they've always been done"


The Order of the Stone has sworn the Great Stone will never again to fall to foreign powers.   Any pilgrim wishing to visit the Great Stone must pass through a series of security check points. Only the members of the Order of the Stone are permitted to carry weapons, or even thing that might be a weapon including anything that is vaguely heavy or sharp. Originally, kalazotz visitors were required to wear embarrassing mittens over their claws until the Order of the Stone inducted a few kalazotz members who then lobbied to remove this restriction on kalazotz visitors.   The Great Stone is surrounded by a series of gate houses, portcullises, and magical traps. In order to let the security measures not strangle the spiritual feeling of the pilgrimage, between each check point is a large shrine where pilgrims offer prayers or perform ritual cleansings on their way to the Great Stone itself.

Industry & Trade

The Great Stone Complex doesn't actually produce anything, all their funds and supplies are provided by donations.   Visitors are not required to leave a donation, but they are strongly encouraged to do so. The Complex takes donation in coin from individual pilgrims and from wealthy dwarf nobles and merchants who provide annual donations who usually provide donations on behalf of their entire clan. They get about 25% of their funds from individual pilgirm's donations and about 40% of their funds from wealthy donors.   The Order of the Stone provides all visitors and pilgrims simple meals free of charge. There is a market complex where pilgrims and visitors can buy more palatable food if they so choose. They can also buy souvenirs to commerate their pilgrimage. Both the food and souvenirs are fairly expensive but most visitors do not complain. The Order receives about 35% of their funds from the market complex.


The Great Stone was the spiritual and political heart of the Dwarf Kingdom of Meckelorn for millennia, but in the 1060s, a coalition led by the infamous half-orc warlord Mordock the Destroyer conquered most of the land of Meckelorn, including the Great Stone itself.   The exiled Meckelorner dwarves fought a guerilla war to reclaim their homeland for a quarter of a millennium. Of that time, their allies in the Dwarf Kingdom of Stahlheim joined them only during the last decade of the long conflict. It was actually an army of Stahlheimer dwarves that actually liberated the Great Stone.   The Meckelorners were angry at the Stahlheimers for sitting out of most of the war only swoop in at the end and claim victory. The Stahlheimers were angry at the Meckelorners for their lack of gratitude for essentially ending the war and saving them from a slow extinction.   Both nations argued that they should have custodianship over the Great Stone as it had spiritual significance to the both. The Meckelorners claimed they had the better claim as it was in the heart of their nation and the Stahlheimers they had the better claim as they were the ones who liberated it from orcs.   The two sides might have come to blows over it but the dwarf priests and priestesses of Hallisan did not want dwarfs to spill dwarf blood over their most sacred ground, so they created a last minute compromise. The immediate area around the Great Stone was removed from the direct jurisdiction from the Kingdom of Meckelorn and the Kingdom of Stahlheim and the complex was recognized (on paper) as a separate nation administered by priests and priestesses and Hallisan despite being enclosed entirely by Meckelorn's capital city.


Many dwarves seek to go on a pilgrimage to the Great Stone, often traveling great distances to do so. Many Stahlheimer dwarves regularly make the pilgrimage every year and there are well established routes for them to do so. The Complex regularly sees dwarves visiting from as far away as the Islands of Mondert.   Non-dwarf visitors are permitted but only if they have provided some great service to dwarves in the past. Most of the non-dwarf visitors are dwarf influenced kalazotz or foreign clergy.   During the main pilgrimage season (the summer months), the complex often houses up to 2000 visitors at a time with around 300 visitors during their lowest points (planting and harvest time).


There are a series of underground caverns linked by tunnels. A straight line of caverns with the connections guarded by Gate Houses leads to the Great Stone itself but there are many branching caverns branching away from and perpendicular to the Great Stone tunnels.   Many of these chambers are underground gardens, others are sleeping chambers and workshops. The largest cavern is the Great Stone Market Place where pilgrims buy their souvenirs and tourist food.
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Cover image: Symbol of the Nine by Pendrake


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