The Tanffordd Building / Landmark in Ulskandar | World Anvil

The Tanffordd

Crisscrossing beneath the Eira-Gwyn and Uzkesh Mountains, the Tanffordd is a large, underground road network that connects the cities, towns and even villages of the Union of Mishtoon to one another, thereby enabling much faster transport and travel through the region compared to trying to cross the numerous mountain peaks on the surface of the region.

Purpose / Function

Because the entirety of the land that is claimed by the Union of Mishtoon is either within the area of the Eira-Gwyn Mountains or the Uzkesh Mountains, even the simplest journey of a couple of miles can take days to complete depending on which peaks stand in the way, how much the forests that cling to the mountainside might slow a party down, and how merciful the weather is feeling. This, compounded by the fact that almost all of the settlements in the Union have been constructed underground anyway, due to the lack of available flat land in their territory, meant that is was a fairly logical decision to try and link major towns and cities via an underground highway of sorts. Although it was originally intended to only connect the main cities to the capital, Ebenbirn, the Tanffordd has grown so that almost every single community in the Union is connected to its network.   The Tanffordd serves exactly this purpose, and acts underground as any other major roadway would in the rest of Ulskandar. Indeed, in the rather challenging, mountainous terrain of the Union of Mishtoon, the Tanffordd makes travelling much faster, as the vast majority of its tunnels have been constructed or altered so that they are reasonably flat and are well paved and maintained, unlike the terrain on the surface above, and also the tunnels of the Tanffordd are much safer, as it is very hard to gain access to them without the consent of the Dwarves of Mishtoon.


There are always additions being made to the Tanffordd, in order to both keep the network in working order, and also to ensure that communities that are not part of the road network are linked up in due course. One of the major alterations that has been made to the network is the installation in the pre-existing tunnels of the network that have been adapted for use in the roadway, of fortified doors that lead out into the wider cave systems that they are part of. The reasoning behind this is to allow patrols of Mishtoonian soldiers to patrol unattached cave networks, and even caves and tunnels that lead further down to the Underdark, to ensure that creatures or beings aren’t trying to break into the Tanffordd from the outside, and arrange for the sealing up of any external tunnels that looks as if they may be used by dangerous creatures.


The Tanffordd is a network of underground tunnels, each of which contain a paved roadway. Many of the tunnels that the Tanffordd runs through are naturally occurring tunnels that have been repurposed for use in the roadway system. This work involved sealing off the existing tunnels from other cave networks that they might be linked to, in order to ensure the integrity of the Tanffordd network, followed by the reshaping of these tunnels so that the actual roadway could be laid down. Where tunnels needed to be created from scratch, this work was carried out through the combination of the magical extraction of earth, and good old-fashioned elbow grease. The roadway itself is constructed out of large slabs of hard stone, that have been laid down over a foundation bed of sand, to help level them out, and then mortared into place, to make a hard wearing, long lasting road surface.   Along the length of the Tanffordd tunnels are numerous guard posts, where small garrisons of troops are stationed to respond to any incursions into the network, and ensure that those that use the Tanffordd do so peacefully. Entrances to and from the Tanffordd from the surface are incredibly heavily guarded and Tanffordd access points have guard posts that are constructed like castles rather than just being small garrisons posts, which not only enables the Mishtoonians to keep creatures out of the network that they do not wish to enter it, but also allows for the increased regulation of goods moving into and out of the Union. There is also a network of associated maintenance posts, which are often linked to the guard posts, which will have a contingent of labourers stationed there who will be responsible for maintaining the road network.   The size of the Tanffordd does vary depending on between which places it runs, with major cities and large towns being connected by sections that are designed to take heavy traffic, whilst smaller settlements may only be connected to the network by tunnels only capable of taking a single cart at a time, with passing places built into the walls to allow opposing traffic to pass by one another.
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Cover image: by Chris Pyrah


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