Darryl Speed's Collection of Characters
Dwarves and What Lies Below
Despite being exclusively native to Eastspine and Westspine, dwarves are one of the most recognized races of the Known World. Their determination, pride, craftsmanship, and kind hearts have left quite the impression on the various states across the world. Dwarves are one of the most traveled races, between the Rockholm expedition’s journeys into lost lands and Rengrad Sealbane’s fleet of pirate vessels, their reputation have been taken across the world in recent centuries, but it wasn’t always this way. While the dwarves in Westspine have always been rather tied down by the massive dragon presence above their cavernous homes, the dwarves of Eastspine had a thriving subterranean civilization far removed from the troubles of the frail humans and elves of the lowlands. Dwarves at this time, about 400 years before the coronation of Emperor Septimas II, were extremely isolationist, not so much as even humoring the idea of communicating with the outside world. It was about this time the Duergar starting appearing, and much worse followed them. Duergar(along with Drow and Dark Folk) are the heavily corrupted versions of dwarves, elves, and humans respectively by the aberrant forces of the realms beyond knowing.
It all started with settlements in the deepest reaches of the mountains cutting themselves off from the “Sun Children” that live in the larger cities closer to the surface. These settlements would capture any merchants or unsuspecting travelers who found themselves in the lower reaches of the mountain and add them to the growing population of slaves owned by these Duergar(one of the greatest taboos of Dwarvern culture is slavery). Unfortunately it wasn’t just the Duergar that begun appearing from the depths. Beholders, Dark Folk, Neothelids, Faceless Stalkers, and worse rose from the depths in astonishing numbers trampling towns, cities, and mines along the way. In the span of a generation the entire dwarvern civilization was uprooted and living in heavily fortified forts stone’s throw distance from the surface. The Paragon Council decided that the period of isolation from the surface dwellers was over and in a desperate move they decided that any contact with the surface dwellers at first would be on their terms. Descending from the mountaintops in an event known as Mountainfall, dwarvern leaders took massive armies and starting rapidly grabbing land in Skâne and in the Eastlands. This event changed the politics of the area forever with the Skani people fleeing both North and South, with the larger group conquering the Norlands while the other settled in the hidden Stonefall Valley.
While Mountainfall was a resounding success, the future of the dwarves as a unified people remains at stake. The Eastlands branch of dwarves and the Skâne branch of dwarves have begun to grow farther and farther apart as time passes. While the Skani dwarves are heavily invested in preparing for a reconquest of their old home(called The Ascent), the Eastlands dwarves have primarily been setting their sights farther from the mountain, Emiria is a resource rich region and they see no benefit to sacrificing untold many lives on a war that ended in undeniable failure the first time. The success of Mountainfall gave the dwarvern population a massive confidance boost over these last 250 years and from that their isolationist attitude has radically swung in the other direction.