Dwarf Clans

Royal Clan: Gloomstone
Home City: Black Spire

Black Spire:
The first feeling many visitors describe upon entering Black Spire, is a feeling of sinking, of drowning in darkness. Of being lowered down chasms, and edges, and levels, a lurching and heavy descent into the city. Relatively close to the surface, there is no convenient foot of the mountain entrance, no miles of tunnels on a nice gradual decline. Wooden carts and Lifts are moved by rope, chain, lever, and pulley from the surface entrance down into main levels.
Hewn from black stone and lacking the natural illumination often found deeper into the World Below it seems the shadows intend to swallow visitor’s whole. Leering Gargoyles and statues of Eribus peer from every building. Even inside taverns, workshops, and Houses candles and braziers seem to be swallowed by the ambient gloom.

(Illumination-from lava, veins of glowstone, or fields of light emitting plants)

The tale of clan Gloomstone is a sorrowful saga, filled with tragedy, last stands, and fallen houses in long lost wars. An honorable saga for certain, but not a very happy one. Relatively recent events (as dwarves reckon such things), have given them a new lease. During the War of Pawns (see World Below), a defeated and harried dwarven army was forced to march farther and farther from dwarven territory, eventually marching across the surface itself. Eventually, they chose to take their last refuge in an abandoned mining complex, preferring to face their deaths in the relative comfort of the world below rather than helpless beneath the vast sky. But rather than their death, they found one of the most holy objects known to dwarfdom… an Unseen Gate, hidden in the stone and passed over by ignorant human stoneworkers. When their vile Roquet foes decided to take the fight into the mine, they were unpleasantly surprised to find not a desperate and understrength regiment, but near a full Dwarven Host. Great was the slaughter that day, but more important to the Dwarves, clan Gloomstone a long scattered family rallied from all corners of the Empire to found the city of Blackspire.

Economics: Calling a Dwarven clan militant is usually something of a redundancy. All Dwarven houses and clans train their youth in soldiering and legendary heroes have come from almost every clan at some point or another. Yet some clans rise above the expectation, and take to the battlefields with such dark enthusiasm that they become legendary even among other Dwarves (who, by and large are often difficult to impress with simple acts of courage.) Historically, clan Gloomstone has drawn most of its finances for renting its warriors to other clans, queens, and military ventures… however it has never been a rich clan.
For millennia clan Gloomstone focused on little but war, but now that they’ve taken the path of rule they are taking to the challenges of peace with a gusto. The Blackspire is very close to the surface, in fact parts of the city spill out onto the hills surrounding the spire. This means the local dwarves have difficulty finding the resources in the world below that other dwarven cities often rely on (such as Voplite, Breithil, and certain other metals and gems the are found in the world below). Instead they’ve been able to turn to the resources available above ground. The clan has a thriving business in lumber, ranching, and evolving industries that deal with their unique resources. Further, Blackspire engages in a fair amount of trade with nearby settlements in Eastern Levia and the Kingdom of Cago. So while they will never likely be rich as dwarven clans measure such things, there income is unlikely to ever drop off either.

Politics: Clan Gloomstone does not particularly get along with its neighbors. It hates the orcs to the east, and Dwarven Regiments regularly scour the mountains to thin the herd. Nor is it very fond of the Kingdom of Cagosund. Blackspire doesn’t hate them persay, but over the years enough diplomatic efforts have gone awry and military mishaps between the two are constant enough that no one is surprised by them any longer. The two don’t want to hate each other, but there is a weary sort of resignation that shades all their dealings.
Recent History: Clan Gloomstone initially played a large role in the Throne Wars, loaning money to Misheim and Nifleheim, and the Queen herself marched several legions across the worldspine to open a second front against the Levian Empire.
Unfortunately this brought Queen Rori into contact with the now legendary Goblin Admiral Hock, whose own forces had taken Dragonport and occupied almost the entirety of the region. The two could not have been more different in temperament. She was a young queen, soft spoken, prone to brooding and periods of melancholy, possessing a grim humor, what most scholars politely call a “sour disposition”, and dwarven inflexibility on matters of honor. Hock was flamboyant, theatrical, inflammatory in his speech, and a devotee to the concept of realpolitik.
The problem came during a war council. There was some disagreement. The Goblin Admiral flew into a rage (a tried and true gobo negotiating tactic), and insulted her majesty in a blistering tirade. Rori Gloomstone, who is not widely famed for her thick skin, responded not with words but violence. Guards leapt forward on both sides. The army camps were intermingled, and fighting was wild, chaotic, close, exactly the kind of fighting that favored heavily armored dwarven warriors. The Goblin force was routed from the field, and the dwarves withdrew from the fighting and returned to Blackspire.
Relations between the City of Chains and Blackspire remain tense to this day.

Clan: Copperhorn
Home City: Flamepeak

Lava boils in the depths of Flamepeak, billowing sinister clouds forth into the heavens, and heating the furnaces and kilns that never sleep. Copperhorn dwarves are tan, for their city burns with smoke, and blinds with light. Great polished mirrors maneuver the lights of the magma across the city. To those of the surface Flamepeak lays in the Hook Mountains, winter winds icy cold grip the surrounding countryside yet the city is always at a boil. The sound of hammers, the ring of bells, the whistle of blown glass, the smoking smell of burning meat. Truly few places are as alive as Flamepeak.

History: Copperhorn is an old clan.

Economics: Copperhorn is a clan of craftsmen and workers. A clan of industry. Engineers, Blacksmiths, glassmakers, ceramics, potters, brewers, leatherworkers… Not only are they great providers of products to the Empire, they serve as an economic hub in the lowlands. Corrallians, Anzlanders, and even orc and ogre tribes journey to Flamepeak to purchase exquisite work therin.

Politics: During the Choir Conflict, dozens of outposts, barrows, and camps were ravaged by bands of Dhilum (sp?) soldiers (and possibly orcs). Never eager to start a war, the copperhorns sent an envoy to the young king of Dhilum to ask for reparations. In an act of villainy that stunned the entire dwarven race, an affront that no foe had ever dared perform on an ambassador of the Empire, Dhilum the Cruel shaved the diplomat bald as an egg. War was the only answer. Clan Copperhorn was the first to send forth its Legions, but Dwarven armies from all corners of the Empire spilled forth.

Clan: Bronzebeard
Home City: Deluge Gate
Note: This document focuses mostly on the clans and their dealings on the surface. More thorough accounts of what they do can be found in the World Below Expansion.

Deluge Gate: If asked, most surface dwellers would say Black Spire is the most prominent Dwarven City-State on the Northern Continent. In truth clan Gloomstone is simply the most active on the surface world. The population of Deluge Gate and its territories are nearly thrice that of Black Spire, Flamepeak, and all of their holdings put together. Yet their lands are beneath the surface, and the passages between the overworld and the world below are scattered widely between the Plague Plains and the Iron Wastes.

Deluge Gate is a series of vast underground canyons, Water pours down from the world above, in torrents and rivers, cascading into dozens of waterfalls throughout the city. Faintly luminescent from the Lum Moss, the water glows providing most of the city’s illumination.

History: While they’ve had dealings with Levians and Midlanders, most of clan Bronzebeards dealings on the surface have been with Kesh, and they’ve been minor. Dwarven Peddlars sometimes trade metals and other weapons to keshian tribes for surface foodstuffs or livestock. Small surface outposts (usually lumberyards or small ranches) are occasionally raided by keshian warriors. Sometimes a small dwarven army will ravage a keshian village. Occasionally Keshians barter to use the Unseen Gate.
The dwarves consider the keshians an ignorant and useless people. The Keshians think the dwarven city below their lands is far smaller and weaker than it is. No formal Keshian chiefs have ever attended the Court of Deluge gate’s queen. No queen has sent ambassadors or emissaries to the chiefs of Kesh.

Economics: See World Below.

Politics: See World Below.

Dwarf Clans

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