The Dwarven Remnant
Capital: Shaddac Kraul
Ruler: Forgequeen Kintha Battlebronze
Government: Militant Absolute Monarchy
Primary Races: Mountain Dwarf, Hill Dwarf
Primary Language: Tharoun (Dwarven)
Regional Bonus: Children of Diriim - Of all the Shining Races, it is the dwarves that are closest to the Goddess of Craft, giving you a +2 racial bonus to any one Craft or Profession of your choice and Knowledge [Dungeoneering].
Gone are the isolated fortress-cities of the dwarves, jewels suspended upon the length of the Heartriver. The Black-Clan Betrayal of AG 1268 almost unmade dwarvenkind on Faengleis, when the traitors of Sefrogost sealed the Halls of Thunder and blockaded all trade up or down the Heartriver. Combined with the dwindling of overland trade from the splintering Empire of the Sun, it would have been enough to starve out the cities of Shaddac Kraul, Kor Branach, and Theyed in the best of times. The middle of a war with the mind flayers was not the best of times.
Only the strength of Clan Battlebronze and their obdurate Forgemistress Kintha kept them from being swept under a tide of enemies. It was a harsh time, with thousands lost to foes and thousands more to the sicknesses that invariably accompany privation, but the dwarves are nothing if not obstinate. In recent years, their populations have begun to stabilize and the northern cities have mostly finished their conversions into vast reservoirs of agricultural production both underground and on their surface. They have united enthusiastically beneath Kintha's leadership and woe betide Forgequeen Bladeharrow's supporters when they at last turn their attentions to the southern blockades.
Theyed was once greatest and most glorious of all their undercities, but time had not been kind to it. A series of poor rulers have culminated in Forgemaster Lekt Copperhand at a time when the city needed strong, capable guidance. The mines that produced Theyed's famous adamantine had run dry while tensions between various clans had become so open that more than one council meeting had devolved into open fighting. It might have fallen into ruin had it not been for the civil war. When Clan Battlebronze demanded their support, old man Lekt found there was one thing he was very good at: following orders.
Give him warring factions and unreasonable subordinates and he was useless. Oh, but give him an dedicated workforce and a superior so intimidating that simply invoking the threat of her displeasure was enough to cow most resistance, and he could make numbers dance to the music in his head. Within years, he had repurposed his city from a failed mine to a successful farm. Tunnels were reworked to hold mushroom farms or as ranch space for subterranean food creatures while the shanty towns on the surface were swiftly replaced with thousands of acres of terraced mountainside too steep for human farmers to even consider.
Regional Feat: Knowledge of Years
Noted less for its own accomplishments than as the waypoint between crumbling Theyed and ascendant Shaddac Kraul, the people of Kor Branach are quiet and unassuming, noted for their fine cheeses and the relaxing mineral hot springs that well up near their home amidst (hopefully) dormant volcanoes. Forgemaster Huln Winterwhite can usually be found relaxing in said hot springs, often entertaining guests from nearby lands as Kor Branach enjoys far and away the best relations of any dwarven city with the surface folk.
But as the Empire of the Sun diminishes in power and influence, those relations soon became obligations on the part of Kor Branach, for the lands they traded with were small villages and private enclaves at the northern extreme of the Wending Vert or within Typhenon itself. With the reduced presence of Imperial paladins and lacking any regular patrols, the creatures of the wild menaced more and more humans and centaurs, driving them to seek protection where they could.
It is that new-found diversity that Huln brings to his diminished nation, including a unit of crack centaur heavy cavalry in the finest of dwarven armaments that would be a welcome force in any army in Faengleis. As well, Branach has begun releasing bodies of its militia to patrol further afield and defend communities that pay small tithes in grain and other foodstuffs, that is in turn contributed to the war effort against the mind flayers.
Regional Feat: Ain't no Thing
The Heartriver branches near its half-way point and there sits the great fortress of the Battlebronze Clan: Shaddac Kraul. Ruled now by the Forgequeen Kintha Battlebronze, it is less a city and more a permanent war with houses, for down the unused branch of the river lies the Six Morals as the dwarves call the six cities they lost in their war against the denizens of the underearth: the Illithid and their drow slaves. The only thing keeping that tide from spilling out into the other dwarven cities is the fortress from which Kintha directs an unending war, sometimes formulating grand strategies or securing supplies for her ever-more-powerful city and other times taking up her axe and leading forays against the enemy with her elite guard, the Children of the Stone (though they usually call themselves the Bronze Bastards).
If that were not enough, Forgequeen Bladeharow's recent attempt to starve the other dwarven cities into submission have opened a new, more subtle front on the constant war. In response, Kintha unified the three dwarven cities on her side of the blockade and has sworn bloody vengeance on Clan Bladeharrow and all those who cooperate with them in even the meanest way. She prepares now for a conflict that may well end dwarfkind on Faengleis but her supporters know it can be no other way.
Regional Feat: Wall of Iron
Garand Forgemaster was the leader of the armies of the Namitha Ardrua against the Orodravian, defeating Skathika's supreme general: the black dragon Onyxile. At war's end, all Garand wished was to retire away from the public eye and enjoy his last years with his remaining children and grandchildren. In reward for his long service, the surviving Ardrua directed Garand's clan to a vast cavern at the source of the Heartriver deep beneath the great mountain range known as the Shield of the World. Quickly, the many dwarves who had served under Garand flocked to join him.
During the Diamond Times, the dwarves explored the Heartriver, eventually locating more than a dozen of the great caverns. Soon, settlements sprang up in all of them, with winding shafts connecting to the surface providing trade routes with the more social hill dwarves who settled there. Between the cities, meanwhile, massive tunnels were constructed paralleling the flow of the Heartriver, named the Halls of Thunder for the echoing reverberations of water that roll through them at all times. As the nation grew, each city took to naming their ruler the Forgemaster or Forgemistress, in honor of Garand, who has taken a near-mythical status, with some going so far as to declare him the progenitor of dwarvenkind in Faengleis.
But during the Age of Small Dreams, the long-vanished horror of the illithid--the mind flayers--resurfaced and consumed much of dwarven civilization, including their capital at Garand's Forge itself. Since that time, the dwarven cities--once centers of craft and invention--have geared themselves more and more towards war in a grim mockery of everything Garand wanted when he created them. But in the breasts of all dwarves burns a desire to reconquer their lost cities and drive the mind flayers into deepest holes in the world and bury them there beneath the corpses of their slaves.
Then, in AG 1268, came the Black-Clan Betrayal, when Clan Bladeharrow--the rulers of the undercity of Sefrogost--declared a "new dwarven nation" that would unify the independent cities for the greater glory of all. The conquered the tinker-city of Isfalkar during a few bloody weeks while increased illithid activity kept Shaddac Kraul from interfering and impressed the defeated people into slave labor to construct fortifications blocking all passage north past Sefrogost. Though their attempt to starve out the northern jewels failed, it cost thousands their lives and united Theyed, Kor Branach, and Shaddac Kraul against their southern cousins in bloody feud.
Now, under history's first Forgequeen, they have sworn to end the "black clans" if they have to kill every dwarf between Shaddac Kraul and the Stormcradle to do it.
Most of the dwarven cities had thought they limited their regular interactions to each other or the Empire of the Sun, the latter being the only country they can easily reach via land routes. However, with the loss of access to Marak Tün--their economic engine and the only city with constant economic ties to the outside world--they learned just how much they had relied on indirect access to foreign ports. Raw materials are at a premium in the Dwarven Remnant and food is often used as a currency in-and-of itself amongst the lower classes.
With the Empire's current troubles cutting off access to most of the cities they had once traded with, there is no opportunity to make up for their lost port access with overland trade and the hill dwarf cities are suffering badly as a result. Only intensive farming initiatives are keeping the majority of the population from starving or--worse in dwarven eyes--unemployment.