Blackstone, Diamond Lake, Steaming Springs
The communities. from west to east, are Blackstone, Steaming Spring, and Diamond Lake. They resemble each other in most particulars except location, and hence are described together. The mines are leased to proprietors, and there is a balance between mining and prospecting operations. The garrison at Diamond Lake organizes policing in these towns, in consultation with the Governor-Mayors.
These working communities are all governed and protected by the Free City of Greyhawk. While the mines themselves are scattered over this portion of the hills, the ore is carried to one of these three towns for assaying, smelting. and further transportation.
Each of these towns is made of wooden buildings, except for a central blockhouse and vault, which is of stone. The towns are governed by Governor-Mayors, appointed by Greyhawk’s directors. These are lucrative posts, and thus are filled with qualified candidates who are not likely to succumb to corruption.
Governor-Mayors, and their detachments of the watch garrisons, are responsible for order in their town and the surrounding mines, protection of the area against bandits and monsters, and seeing that the mining operations run without a great deal of interference.
Blackstone is nestled in a steep-sided canyon of dark gray granite. During wet weather, a slender waterfall, nearly 500 feet high, spills glittering water into the canyon to collect in a once-crystalline lake. The mines of Blackstone bore into the canyon walls all around the town. Some of these tunnels entrances, several hundred feet up sheer walls of granite. are reached only by the most precarious of trails. Others. near the top of the wall. can only be entered by those first taking the steep switchbacks of the main trail up the side of the canyon. The miners then circle the rim to a point over their mine entrance. There they are lowered over the edge with huge cranes.
Steaming Spring lies in a wider valley, and draws its name from the several geysers outside the town. These regularly spew hot water. steam, and occasionally mud into the air. The mines dig into the lower slopes of the lulls to either side of the valley. Unlike Blackstone. which sits primarily on a stone foundation. Steaming Spring is built upon dirt that has long since turned to mud. The town is visible from miles away as a brown smudge across the bottom of a once verdant valley.
Diamond Lake is the smallest and most remote mining colony of Greyhawk, Diamond Lake is a lakeshore village of wooden buildings and a single, large blockhouse-vault made of stone. It services the largest number of mines, over a wider territory than then other towns, but these mines tend to be much smaller than those among the lower operations. The town stretches along the shore of a lake whose clarity once must have inspired the community’s (and the lake’s) name. Now it is as stained and muddy as the water around the other towns, soiled with vast heaps of mine tailings and churned by the busy commerce along its shore.
The fort here houses a garrison of 60 militia whose remit is to patrol the areas around the mining towns of the north, and to liase with the halfling communities to the north. The Blackwall Keep militia may call for reinforcements from here if trouble erupts in the Mistmarsh, so it is not entirely a backwater post.
Diamond Lake Mines: The waters of Diamond Lake are murky with dirt, clay, and other materials stirred up by mining or left over from the ore-refining process. The worst external problem facing the town is occasional banditry against wagon trains of ore leaving the village for Greyhawk.
Some off-duty miners, amateur mountaineers, and novice adventurers found that the hills offer a different kind of danger. Across Diamond Lake sit two ancient cairns, one at the northeast end and one at the southwest end. Both cairns were looted long ago but are still extensive in size and impressive to the casual viewer. Most miners believe there other cairns nearby, but cairn hunters turned up only a few minor monster lairs (notably a cockatrice den in 587 CY). Several miners and explorers vanished without a trace in 590 CY while looking for cairns south of the lake.
The mines are owned by the city, but are leased to various individuals for life. These mine managers are usually industrious nobles who are responsible for the business of mining. Fully half of the product of each mine is the property of the city, but many mine managers, Governor-Mayors. and prospectors have made good fortunes on the other half.
Common buildings in the mining towns include large boarding houses for the miners, a large, smoky smelting house, several smithies, wainwrights, carpenters, a large teamster yard with numerous heavy wagons and draft horses, small markets of expensive fresh food and low-quality dried goods shipped from the city, and of course inns, taverns, eating-houses, dance halls, and brothels-all the social accouterments demanded by a well-paid, hard-working, and generally unmarried populace.
The mine managers maintain large houses in the towns, usually with their families and servants. The Governor-Mayor, his watch officers, and skilled artisans such as the Chief Smelter or Master Smith have individual houses as well, though with not so much finery or as many servants as the mine managers.