Stormwind City has seen destruction firsthand, Darnassus has only stood for a few years, and the Alliance can still count the weeks since the crash-landing of the Draenei ship, the Exodar, on their fingers. There is one capital city, however, that has stood the test of time - The City of Ironforge. Constructed by the Ironforge Dwarves and now playing host to the gnomes as well, Ironforge rests entirely within a massive Dun Morogh mountain sharing the city's name. Were it not for the wide sloping road leading up to its massive gates, Ironforge would be nearly invisible in its presence. Some say no Alliance race save for the Night Elves cares anything for coexisting with nature, but the dwarves have a great respect for their land and live in its warm embrace. Ironforge is the official capital city for the whole of the Alliance, and you can find adventurers of every race within, both protecting the city and setting out for destinations unknown from it.
Despite Ironforge being one of the most massive and cavernous complexes ever seen by a pair living eyes, it was merely a shy and sleepy city up until the final days of the Third War. Standing outside the gates not more than six years ago, you would have been greeted by a massive pair of stone doors shut tightly against the cold of the Dun Morogh region. As the rebuilding efforts following the Third War began, Ironforge slowly began opening its doors to friendly foreigners, including refugee gnomes from the irradiated and inhospital gnome capital of Gnomeregan. The fact that the dwarves have also begun uncovering artifacts that seem to indicate they were a race handcrafted by the legendary titans has also led to a massive outflux of dwarves. Now most of the race is strewn about Azeroth engaging in archeological and exploratory quests. Though Ironforge is still packed with a sizable amount dwarves, the number of dwarves that are left almost look like a 'skeleton crew' compared to the fully dwarven population that exclusively populated the city back when the race was introverted and isolatory.
Ironforge is over a thousand years old, and it shows. The city seems to be hewn out of the very rock of the mountain it resides within. However, anyone knowledgeable about the dwarven race knows that Ironforge is far too close to the surface to be one of the first dwarven cities, and they would be correct. Directly underneath the city is a mysterious cave known as "Old Ironforge". Though it is rumored that tunnels in Old Ironforge lead to the birthplaces of the dwarves deep underground, it is known that a large part of this area is taken up by the "Hall of Thanes". The hall is a massive underground cavern reserved exclusively for the honored dead of the dwarves (former kings, notable members of the dwarven guilds, and so forth) as well as an ancient titan artifact known as the Iron Forge. The Iron Forge is the most sacred item in Ironforge, and the dwarves would go as far as to say it is the most sacred object in all of Azeroth. Resembling a gigantic anvil, it is rumored that weapons and armor crafted on the forge will empower its user with the strength and resiliance of a titan. However, the dwarves have sworn never to use the forge until the extent of its power is revealed to them through their archeological studies, and thus they go about their blacksmithing at their dwarven-made Great Forge.
Duties and TasksEdit
It is said that Ironforge is the safest place in the world. Barring a few terrible accidents and one murder within the fires of the Great Forge, there is little crime in the city. Ironforge is built entirely within a mountain and there is only one entrance to the metropolis. Thus, most tasks given to adventurers by the people of the city will have them travelling across Azeroth to help distant dwarves with their archeological studies and expeditions. The Explorer's Guild of Ironforge prides itself on its good communication with adventurers, who often server as able bodyguards and mercenaries working on behalf of the organization. Even the king and his aides will issue quests to adventurers personally! Areas of interest to Ironforge include the Blackfathom Deeps in Ashenvale, Uldaman in the Badlands, the Scarlet Monastery in the Tirisfal Glades, and Uldum in Tanaris. As adventurers become heroes in their own right, they may be sent to Blackrock Depths to fight the corrupt Dark Iron Dwarves or to Silithus to help search for ancient ruins or fight the alien Silithid. It is rumored that the Explorer's Guild is considering sending adventurers through the Dark Portal to explore Outland and search for esteemed guild member Brann Bronzebeard. Brann's travelogues and guides were a great inspiration to this author. I implore you to search hard for this missing dwarf!
The gnome population of Ironforge works toward freeing and cleansing their lost city, Gnomeregan, alongside hundreds of adventurers who have signed onto their cause. Tinker Town, the city's gnome district, also serves as a staging area for an inevitable final assault on the trogg-infested capital. Until then, however, adventurers will be continually assigned to help make some early but hard-hitting strikes against the crazed gnomes that drive Gnomeregan deeper into its radiation-soaked decline. Another group planning a series of strikes are the Battlemasters of Ironforge. Any adventurer willing to face the savage Horde should report to them immediately.
Places and PeopleEdit
Ironforge is a loud and busy city. Regardless of the frequent snowstorms or deathly chills that whip across Dun Morogh just outside its gates, Ironforge is always dry and hot. The air, devoid of any moisture, smells of stone and dust. This is not always a bad thing, however. Any dwarf you question about this matter is likely to tell you that the dry and musty air simply makes the city smell that much more historic and the beer that much more refreshing. Nevertheless, all but the most experienced night elves walk the city's streets in a sort of daze, their eyes watery from the smoke that seems to envelope the city at all times. Getting a good night's sleep in Ironforge is something that takes quite a bit of practice to do. Bring earmuffs.
The only proper entrance into Ironforge (barring the Deeprun Tram) is through its massive gates. Snow accumulates in piles in the city's entrance hall, but beyond, a blast of fiery color and warmth surrounds you. Here, in the city's main district, you can find dozens upon dozens of adventurers milling about. Not only the stout dwarves and their guests, the gnomes, but also a healthy amount of humans. Most humans in Ironforge are only visitors, but the city has a small human population that prefers the leadership of King Bronzebeard over the strange monarchy that Stormwind has found itself obeying in recent times. You're also likely to see a few Night Elves mingling in the plazas. Though most prefer to use Stormwind Park as their base of operations in the Eastern Kingdoms, some decide to put up with the smoke and noise of Ironforge in exchange for easier access to regions in Lordaeron. Surrounding this plaza are locations of great interest - the Vault of Ironforge helps adventurers place their items and equipment under heavy security, the Ironforge Auction House is always bustling with auctioneers and bidders, and the city's inn (though easy to miss) is a popular place to get a soothingly cool drink and make a few powerful friends.