We toil, so that our sons and daughters do not have to. We fight, so that our families, friends and allies may live in peace and tranquility. We watch, ensuring the protection of this world from the forces of evil who would undo the design of our Great Creator. We prosper, for we are dwarves, and that is what we are made to do.— Asmund the Exalted, first Lord-Thane of his clan
Khargrimnir is a country located in the eastern mountains of Dryadala. The ancestral home of the Dwarf race, it is primarily made up of a great mountain range known as the Earth's Pinnacle Mountains. The Dwarves make up their homes in many great cities and fortresses scattered across both the surface and the underground, where great tunnels known as the Underway connect Khargrimnir to various points across the east. It is one of the oldest and longest lived of all mortal empires in Telamon's history, dating back to the beginning of recorded history.
History[edit | edit source]
Founding[edit | edit source]
The ancestral Dwarves founded their empire after being taught of civilized existence by their gods roughly 8,000 years before the current day. The great mountainhome of Kharaz-Khargrim was the first city of the Dwarves, which would serve as their capital as they begun expanding west. With little more than Kobolds threatening their presence, the ancient dwarves' reign was a prosperous one, with their territories reaching across all points of the eastern mountains. It was at this time that the Dwarves dug out the Underway; immense tunnels connecting to various points across the continent, creating a vast subterranean underworld where they could come and go without being seen or bothered by surface races.
The Hammer and the Rat[edit | edit source]
Upon the rise of Skitterfall, the Dwarves suddenly found the Underway crawling with ravenous Rakash, located just south of their ancestral homelands. These malevolent demon-worshippers saw the Dwarves as intruding into territory they claimed as theirs, and war quickly broke out between the two factions. The Dwarves fought with all their might against the foul ratmen, seeking to wipe them out from the face of the world, and their enemy retaliated in a brutal fashion; Skitterfall eventually unified under their Council of Clans, who turned their eyes to their hated Dwarven enemies and unleashed the full organized might of the Rakash upon them, leading to Khargrimnir being heavily damaged and to entire greatholds losing all contact with Khargrimnir; one such land, Grumgirnur, would be poisoned and its inhabitants corrupted into the cruel Duergars.
This act of violence earned the Rakash the eternal hatred of the Dwarves, who remained in open conflict with them for the rest of history. Notably, the Dwarves of Khargrimnir would take advantage of the Great Rat Civil War by striking at their nemesis while they suffered from internal conflicts; led by the legendary hero Zinrar Steelbrow, armies of Dwarves marched into Skitterfall City and almost reduced it to rubble before the rats managed to push them back. They were extremely close of finally destroying the Rakash for good, but were thwarted by the intervention of the demon lord Skanqrak, who convinced the rats to cease their in-fighting and fully push the Dwarven offensive out of their lands, leading to a stalemate which left hundreds of thousands dead on both sides.
While large-scale war between the Dwarves and Rakash ceased at this point, minor skirmishes continue until the current day. The Dwarves paid little mind to the rest of Dryadala during this time, having no role in the splitting of the Elves or the rise of Humans.
Geography[edit | edit source]
Khargrimnir is based on the Earth's Pinnacle Mountains, a mountain range located in the eastern portions of the continent of Dryadala. The climate there is temperate and the base of the mountains are made up of hills which give way to small portions of woodland. Within the mountains is the Rocking Lake, one of the larger portions of inland water in the east.
Government[edit | edit source]
Khargrimnir is governed by a collection of largely autonomous individuals derived from numerous highly-influential and financially and militarily powerful families known as Thanes, who serve as administrators of Dwarven cities and settlements and maintain a significant hand in matters of law and justice, inter-clan feuds and disputes, military and public security upkeep, and handling the internal economy and tax collection within their cities, while also retaining communication with neighbouring communities and settlements - both Dwarven and foreign. The Thanes and their varying responsibilities are bound by codes, traditions, and guidelines determined by a figurehead known as the Lord-Thane, a constitutional monarch drawn from the Archclan - the Dwarven equivalent of a royal family - who cooperates with the autonomous Thanes and their families, alongside other affluent clans, and handles significant internal and external political matters alongside overseeing the numerous organisations founded to defend the Dwarven holds.
Religion[edit | edit source]
The official religion of Khargrimnir is that of the Dwarven Pantheon, a collection of cultural gods related to the great god Skasdrumri who are said to have been personally involved in the conception of Dwarven civilization. Temples dedicated to these gods are very common across the holdings of the Dwarves, with their clerics and paladins being considered commonplace. Other deities who have found their way into Khargrimnir include Aether, Aldirei and Infinitum, but their worship is considered niche by the Dwarves and as such, their clergies hold little influence.
Inhabitants[edit | edit source]
Khargrimnir is the home land of the Dwarves and they make up the overwhelming majority of its population. Also native to the region are the Gnomes, who live alongside the Dwarves. Small population of Human and Elven migrants exist through the region, though their presence is relatively insignificant. Tribes of Kobolds and Goblins prowl the wilderness and the underground portions of Khargrimnir, harassing travellers and caravans, and as previously mentioned the monstrous Rakash make their lairs in the southern subterranean reaches of the region, rulling over the Skitterfall Under-Empire.
Relations[edit | edit source]
The Dwarves are very cautious of approaching other nations; they are hard to befriend and quick to anger. However, those who manage to earn their favour note them to be fiercely loyal allies who will go through great lengths to provide their support if necessary. Meanwhile, they are also extremely unforgiving of being wronged, and those who incur their ire earn the grudge of the collective Dwarven folk, which can only be repaid in coin or in blood, usually the latter.
- Positive relations
- Aynach - The knights of Aynach and the warriors of Khargrimnir have fought together against Greenskins many times, and see each other as valuable allies.
- Confederation of Lechner - The Dwarves are one of the most important allies of the Men of the Lechnerlands, being one of their main trading partners.
- Eryliana - As they both value martial prowess and fight Greenskins, the Dwarves are more fond of the Ashen Elves than any other Elven culture.
- Merovaren - Lizardfolk caravans are common sight in Khargrimnir, even if the Dwarves consider them a little too reckless for their taste.
- Ambivalent relations
- Eondrassana - The Dwarves distrust the Wood Elves for their (in Dwarven eyes) shady nature and "bizarre" mannerisms regarding nature.
- Negative relations
- Druacatakh - The Dwarves see Greenskins as abominations and their unified horde is no different.
- Duskwood - The Dwarves hold a grudge against the undead for being unnatural monstrosities in the eyes of their gods.
- Grumgirnur - The Duergars are seen as irredeemable by their uncorrupted kin, but the distance between their lands means they do not openly fight often.
- Skitterfall - Khargrimnir has been at open war with Skitterfall for over 7,000 years. To say they hold grudges against the ratmen is an understatement.
Notable inhabitants[edit | edit source]
- Royals and nobles
- Murdin Hillmantle - Current Lord-Thane of Kharaz-Khargrim and ruler of Khargrimnir
- Ermek Trughs - Thane of Kunmaldur
- Rizgeez Tinloflink - Gnomish Thane of Whistlehold
- Individuals of esteem
- Historical figures
- Asmund the Exalted - The first Lord-Thane
- Zinrar Steelbrow - Dwarven hero of the Rat Wars, famed for almost destroying Skitterfall