Wednesday, 3 August 2011

The Dwarves of the Ten Peaks

Dwarves have inhabited the Ten Peaks for at least a thousand years - they were there when the Toutus Empire was first formed, and they have stayed around long enough to see it fall apart. Now they are the largest civilized force in the Godsblood Straits.

In the early days there were three Thegndoms which often fought against each other. These internecine wars among the dwarves were known as the Thegn Wars. These wars weakened the dwarves considerably, so when several external threats appeared in rapid succession, something had to be done. First a wave of orcs attacked the Ten Peaks, causing great damage and grief. Then human barbarians in the Talloak Forest began raiding the northern settlements, Finally the predominantly human Toutus Empire growing in the east launched an invasion and succeeded in BY 850.
The Toutus Empire split the Thegndoms into the ten clans that exist today and forbade the creation of any Thegn or King of the dwarves - the humans believed that this would stop the dwarves from unifying into a threat. This caused some upheaval but in BY 899 the dwarves secretly formed the Confederacy with a central council of clan chiefs rather than a single leader.
During the dwarves battle with the Duke of Urdus in BY 1050 the dwarves were led by Kazzor Bluegem, leader of the Bluegem clan - the first time and so far only time that the dwarves were united under a single dwarven leader.
After they had sworn allegience to the Emperor and separated from the Duchy of Urdus, Kazzor was infuriated when the other nine clan chiefs reverted back to the Confederacy Council and he only grudgingly attended the council meetings.

The council meetings of the leaders of the Ten Clans is fraught with bargaining, underhand diplomacy and personality clashes. It is rare when the Council of the Confederacy all agree on something and this is a sign of a serious situation where normal bickering and horse-trading has to be put aside. 
The architecture of the Ten Clans is extensive, both on the surface of each of the peaks and within each mountain. After over a thousand years the industrious dwarves have created towns on the surface while underneath there are miles and miles of mines, passages, chambers, catacombs, prisons and barracks. Many of these are centuries old and have been abandoned for a long time - thus clearing out these dwarven dungeons is a continuous task.
Complicating this is the discovery of connections to the Underworld, a vast network of underground caves and tunnels that span across Kaelaross. Creatures from the Underworld, such as gray worms (caecilians), minotaurs, displacer beasts and white apes sometimes emerge to cause havoc in the lower levels of the dwarven strongholds.
Dotted around the hills and valleys in between the ten peaks there are farmstead of humans and halflings, growing barley, wheat and vegetables, and raising sheep, goats and sturdy ponies who are used by dwarves instead of larger horses.
Other areas of the hills are wild, and in these less civilized areas there are goats, stags, wild boar, pumas (also known as mountain lions), wolves and brown bears, as well as the occasional ogre, wyvern or griffon.
Clan Name       Population
Copperring      2,210      
Capable wilderness explorers.Often clash with inhabitants of Talloak Forest when cutting timber

Ogrebane        2,530      
Reputation for being tough warriors, but arrogant and proud

Fireforge       1,910      
Renowned craftsmen, notorious for being greedy and thrifty

Weatherwatcher  1,800      
Diplomatic, often dealing with Ironmarket and halflings

Bluegem         1,990      
Old, noble, previously leaders of the Confederacy

Griffinclaw     2,390      
Noted for architects and engineers. Not noted for friendliness or diplomacy

Flagon raisers  2,040      
Considered drunken partygoers - partly true, but also capable of putting on an act and being sneaky

Diamondshield   1,730      
Religious with lots of dwarven clerics. Also old-fashioned and traditional

Steelpick       2,580      
Industrious miners who are also the most experienced in dealing with the Underworld and its monsters

Cyclopsslayers  2,150      
Renowned fighters and woodcutters. Occasionally eccentric and possibly insane.

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