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Mountains of Copper

This small mountain range in the Central Area is to the north of Hallstatt. One large settlement here is the dwarven village of Morten. The large vale that lies between the Mountains of Copper and the Khopet-Dag mountains is called the Ejen Horo.

This small group of mountains marks the northern border of Hallstatt and the edge of the Celtic World. The mountains gain their name from the rich veins of copper ore that run beneath them. Over the centuries, hundreds of mines have been sunk into the region. At first the mining was relatively simple, but now miners must delve deeper and deeper underground. Some shafts run for miles, branching into hundreds of confusing galleries, even occasionally breaking into older, abandoned shafts. The intense mining has left its mark on the region in many different ways. In addition to the hundred or so active mines, there are at least a hundred more abandoned shafts. No effort has ever been made to map the locations of these or their courses underground.

These mines are in dangerous states of decay, prone to collapse. The deepest mines have become the abodes of creatures from the underdark, some of whom even expand the tunnels further. Closer to the surface, goblins, orcs, and their kin have settled in the shafts. Bandits and brigands sometimes claim a shaft as their hideout.

The intense and reckless mining has scarred the land. Near each mine is a slag heap. These and the closed shafts leach deadly chemicals into the water. Many streams run copper-red and are unfit to drink. Entire slopes have been deforested to fuel the smelters. The forges belch clouds of black smoke into the air.

The towns and settlements of the mountains reflect their grim landscape. They are squat and ugly, caked in dirt and soot, hiding behind stockades and stone wails. Most often, the minehead is at the center of the town, surrounded by the hammer mills and smelters. The homes and shops huddle around the outside of these, the people living amidst the smoke and odor of the mines. Few venture outside the walls of their towns without good reason. The region is rich with monsters who prey on the hapless miners and is attractive to bandits who swoop down on the merchant caravans and payrolls. Hallstatt does not make a real effort to prevent this. The best it can manage is to send heavily armed guards to patrol the few highroads that enter the mining district. Once into the mountains, the arm of the law is limited to the largest towns. In most places, it is the minerís guild that rules; rather than the tradition of Druids or Bards.