Guide to Mining (book)

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A Guide to Mining

Grus! I am Kvarniiln, son of Kvarnild. I was born in the great city of Hibarnhvidar, finest piece of Dwarven craftsmanship the world has seen. I was born here and I have always lived here, in this great Hibarnhvidar. And I am a miner. As everyone knows, mining is in a Dwarf's blood. While other races take their fulfillment from exploring and seeing other towns and cities -- the creations of man -- we Dwarves find no greater pleasure than exploring the earth itself, the creation of our father, Kertigen. Kertigen dwells in those mines... the rocks and stones are his bones, and the sparkling gems are his blood. For us Dwarves, life is in those mines.

For us Dwarvenkin, mining comes naturally. It is how our father Kertigen made us. Mining... exploring the depths of the earth, feeling out where the gems and metals and minerals are, knowing the way the earth works and where to hit... it is as simple as breathing to us. Weak little Elven babies play with dolls and other worthless knick- knacks, a Dwarven child is quickly taught to hold a hammer and a shovel and a pick, and is set about learning what place, where there are concentrates of valuable gems and metals below, then you will get nothing for your efforts.

It is invariably true that the finest mines are in Forfedhdar, which to us Dwarves is the "Land of our Ancestors." They settled in this land of mountains and craggy peaks surrounding the sweet Sawstwar Lake for many reasons, but the first was that it had the finest deposits in all Elanthia! So we built our mines here, and we have therefore claimed the best mines within our kingdom. The city of Hibarnhvidar itself is then built upon the finest of the Forfedhdar mines. Those of you from the surrounding provinces expecting to build your own mines to rival those of our Forfedhdar -- hah! and good luck to you, though you will never succeed. The other lands simply do not have the valuable deposits and the good mountain ranges as there are here.

So you must first keep in mind the location's importance. You must also remember that not all mines will bear the same fruits. The mines of the Tivshowldh Mountains will yield only salt, while those in the Himineldar Shel Mountains, where Hibarnhvidar is located, give us precious jewels and ores. One who is skilled in mining will be able to know these things.

A miner must be properly prepared! The mines can be hazardous places, and preparation is key. The good miner will carry with him a shovel, a hammer, and a pickaxe, for digging, for breaking through walls, for extracting veins. He will have a lantern, for providing light in those dark places, and a large satchel for carrying those things he finds -- though efficiently run operations will set rails along the ground as the mines are expanded, so that the yields can be placed in a cart to be delivered to the surface.

A miner should also be skilled, and attentive. Mines can be dangerous places. If you enter those mines with no skill at mining or no knowledge of appraisal or mechanical lore, you very well might die in those stony depths. The careless and unskilled miner will bring about cave-ins and rockfalls and will either be crushed by the boulders from above, or will be buried alive, sealed behind a wall of rock in his own personal little crypt, never to be seen again. A miner must also have the skill and presence of mind to recognize when a mine has been totally depleted -- exhausted and abandoned mines will often become havens for monsters, scavengers, or angry spirits. Do not get so greedy that you would remain in a mine after it has been emptied, desperate to find even more! For then you will become a target for those beasts, and may die alone. A true miner must know when to move on.

So how does one mine? When a mine is built, an entry chamber is created. A miner must enter here, and by using tools such as his shovel and pickaxe, he must dig away in the mountain to create new mine tunnels. This is a slow process, ideal for hearty folk like us Dwarves -- it takes time and effort to chip through a wall enough to make a new tunnel. And it also requires geological smarts to know where to hit, where to focus your effort. A fool not fit for the mines could spend years chipping away at a wall only to find a dead end with no mineral vein!

As new tunnels are made, a miner will also discover veins of gems or metals. These veins can be further mined to gain valuable items (or garbage, such as chunks of useless rock not fit for crafting). But as I said, you must be wary and attentive -- striking in a bad spot, or striking carelessly, can cause the mine to collapse!

You can create tunnels in any direction... the eight main directions, as well as above and below. Each wall is strong and sturdy, and after hammering away at it, you can either expose a new tunnel, expose a vein... or expose a dead-end, or cause damage to the mine's foundation. Those last two are bad things that we want to avoid. The best thing is to expose a vein. These are what we miners are looking for, what the goal of it all is. Take care with these veins... they are precious. When it is a hammer at which we swing our pick, we seek to destroy the wall, but the opposite is true when it is a vein. Here, the miner must take great care so as to do as little damage to the vein as possible while mining it. The longer a vein holds out, the more a miner can get from it.

Next, a good miner will always take care of his tools. You are breaking through rock and metal... this sort of work is damaging to the tools of our trade. Picks and shovels have their own quality levels, which you should pay attention to, and over time, through use, they become damaged -- pay attention to that, too. Either learn how to repair your tools or keep spares with you to replace your tools when they become damaged. If you do not, you may find yourself in the depths of a mine with no tools at all.

There isn't much more to say about underground mining. But don't think that this is all! Mining is much more than what I have written of, it is much broader. Mining also encompasses things such as prospecting. There is also underseas mining -- not a job for the faint of heart! Not to mention explosive mining, or rock blasting. Now that is something for the truly skilled miner. We Dwarves have also applied our skill at mining to large-scale combat. There is no fortification the Dwarves cannot breach. Our mining skill allows us to dig tunnels beneath fortifications, to enter them, or to collapse them entirely. There is also placer mining, a fad developed by the little Olvi people. We have observed the Halfling-kin standing in a river wielding pans and metal screens, hoping they can find gold that way. They call it mining, too, though it certainly isn't what I and my people generally think of our art.

Now, this concludes my guide to mining. If you want to learn more, then you'll need to pick up a pickaxe and try it for yourself. There's only so much you can learn in a book, you know.

By my hand, Kvarniiln, son of Kvarnild