The mystery of lost Hargq’s Barq (A campaign background piece for Dungeons and Dragons 5th edition)
Hargq’s Barq is a rumored dwarven settlement somewhere in the northern half of Faerun. Allegedly settled by Dwarves after their original settlement in the mountains of Yehimal, Hargq’s Barq is a sticking point for dwarven historians for two principal reasons. Firstly, it was settled in secrecy at the time, with few interactions with other dwarven realms. Indeed, many times a dwarf would simply disappear from their home settlement, disappearing from their own lives among their clan holdings and eventually fading from their clan histories.
The other reason most historians argue about Hargq’s Barq is that it had no king, and no nobles. The few stories that come from it during the oldest histories of the dwarven people tell of the high priest of Moradin serving as the speaker for the city, though in all instances that priest never declared himself the ruler of Hargq’s Barq. Hargq’s Barq was insular by dwarf standards, and only opened its city gates on Dwarven holidays. Even on those days when the gates were open, most of the city itself was isolated by perimeter walls that kept the religious pilgrims apart from the citizens.
The city itself was large by Dwarven standards, with a nominal populace of around 25,000 dwarves at the height of its growth. Oddly enough, it did permit non dwarves to live within its boundaries and estimates put around 2,000 non dwarves (mostly gnomes and halflings) living in the city at its height. With the artistic skill that one expects from dwarven craftsmen, Hargq’s Barq displayed engineering ideas that would take centuries for other dwarven cities to adopt.
The city of Harq’s Barq was dominated by a central temple district, with one of the largest temples to Moradin found on Faerun. The temples were filled with clergy of many different dwarven gods, and if the city had been more open and inviting, it’s possible it would have become the center of dwarven religion in the North. It also had the forges and workshops to be expected in a major dwarven city, and boasted some of the most innovative dwarven smiths anywhere.
It’s rumored to be hidden somewhere in a mountainous range in the north of Faerun, but the exact location was lost when the city isolated itself from its dwarven kin. Following the breakup of the dwarven clans of Bhaerynden that led to the settlement of the shield dwarves in western Faerun, Hargq’s Barq closed its doors and refused entrance to all visitors and travelers. Finally, the dwarves stopped coming, and eventually, the city was lost to history.