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The village of Dumhweil

by Andrew Theisen

Dumhweil (pronounced Doomh- veil; though certain critics have taken to calling it "Dumb Wheel"...)

AC: 6
MV: 120' (40')
Hp: 350
Atks: up to 3
Dmg: (Crush) 10d10
         (Gnomish Ballista) 3d4 each

The gnomish village of Dumhweil is an odd and terrifying sight on the Vulcanian plains. It appears as a tremendous metal and wooden wheel (standing 50' high and 20' wide). It roams the lands of Vulcania rolling over all obstacles, and occasionally stopping to release a deadly raiding party (to restock the village's supplies).

The wheel consists of two spiked iron treads on a metallic frame, it's ends capped by wooden "hubs". The entire contraption rotates around a central cylinder (20' high x 30' wide). Inside, an impossibly complicated series of wheels and gears, connected to dozens of treadmills, provides the wheel's motive source. The treadmills are occupied by a rotating stream of short, stocky gnomes (the Jox), overseen by a group of skinnier, slighter gnomes (the Gnurds).

The Wheel's two treads, when moved at different rates, allow the enormous contraption to turn, albeit very slowly.

The Jox are the true source of power for Dumhweil, running in the treadmills, pulling the switches and levers, and keeping the wheel (and it's connected steam engines, which provide heat and light) running. The Gnurds, however, are the brains behind the wheel's operation, and without whom all operations would come to a halt. They keep the Jox operating the wheel, and provide needed repairs and improvements to Dumhweil.

The Gnurds are steadily declining in numbers (only 150 of the 500 gnomes living on Dumhweil), as the gnomish women (Jox and Gnurd alike) seem to prefer the beefier Jox (the source of endless, inconclusive reports and studies by the Gnurds). The Gnurds live in the upper level of the Cylinder.

The middle level of the Cylinder is occupied by eating establishments, sports arenas, and recreational facilities. The Gnurds constructed this level for themselves initially, but have gradually allowed the Jox to spend time there when not working in the Wheel (to allow them to blow off steam). They also thought it would allow them to socialise with the Jox, but they are mainly considered outsiders.

The bottom level of the Cylinder is tightly cramped with Jox quarters and (in the outer two portions) the gnomish ballistae. The ballistae (2 facing front, 2 facing back) are manned by 4 Jox and a Gnurd, and allow the gnomes to attack targets that aren't stationary and can't merely be run over.