Federation of the Dwarven Lords
Age of Mortals
The Federation of the dwarven lords was started by the dwarven clans that lived to the south of the mainland of Khallador. Many of the clans had formed or traveled with Clan Mountaincrown to the area that became known as Khallador, with the Mountain Crowns lending out land in turn for loyalty. While this worked well for the clans to the south initially, the area was very hostile to the dwarves. The Archaism Mountains here were smaller and the ranges less dense, meaning more monsters could easily cross into the area. Most of the land was not fertile, and the few farms that were in the region would become regularly targets for both intelligent and mindless creatures. Finally, the Zelyrians to the south were xenophobic and would attack anyone who would enter their valley. Though the clans that lived in the area tried to raise their concerns with the King of Khallador, few to none of their cries for assistance were answered. While the clans to the north prospered, those in the south languished, and more than one startup stronghold was destroyed by monsters, some of which were giants who despised the dwarves.
On their own, the southern clans banded together to defend themselves against such attacks. Each gave a number of men they could spare to patrol the mountain passes and the entrance to the valley of Zelyr. A special task force was assembled to respond to reports of raids and attacks on those within the boundaries of their lands. Over a few short years, the region was made mostly safe again, and the southern dwarven clans began to spread once more. The largest clan of the south was Clan Emeraldeye, who were in charge of coordinating the defensive force, and once thing settled began to assist the expansion and founding of other clans further south and west. Clan Emeraldeye was ambitious, and decided to hand out the lands they cleared out to new clans if they agreed to help them in times of need, as well as giving some of their soldiers to help defend the rest of the south. Many debate on Emerald Eye's intentions and whether or not they planned to revolt, rebel, or were simply trying to be the dominant clan of the region. Regardless, the King of Khallador heard of their deeds about a decade afterwards, and was furious. Not only was marshaling a private military force illegal, but Clan Emeraldeye was giving out land that was never theirs to begin with. Clan Emeraldeye and Mountain Crown met to see if something could be worked out, but both were unaccommodating to the other. Emerald Eye refused to dismiss their armies, citing that the king had refused to hear of the south's earlier issues. When threatened to be forced out of Khallador, Emerald Eye said they would need to be forced. However, dwarven civil wars were unheard of, and both thought the other would relent. Talks continued for months, worsening each day until finally both were more than ready to fight the other. Emerald Eye saw Clan Mountaincrown as tyrannical and negligent, while Mountain Crown saw Emerald Eye and the southern clans as rebellious upstarts. As some of the other southern clans heard of this, they decided to support Clan Emeraldeye, refusing to leave the land they had fought for themselves or to abandon their vows to support Emerald Eye, who had helped the south prosper. Thus began the Khalladori Civil War in 1639 A.o.M.
The war started slow, but quickly gained speed. At first, the south suffered one defeat after another, and the Emerald Eye stronghold was captured by the Loyalist Khalladorians, who were better equipped and in greater numbers. Still, the south held out as long as they could, and they began to adapt to their enemy's tactics. They began to ride mountain ponies that were found in the region of Zelyr, who were surprisingly nimble and allowed the southern armies to quickly ride into their territory to raid it. This required the Loyalists to spread their forces out thinner, which made them lose the advantage. While the southern clans did not have as many proficient magic users as the north, the south did have Nelkar Ockenlost Ember Stone. He was a dwarf whose clan was loyal to the king, but he had defied their decision to support him and fought for the south instead. Though just one dwarf, he was perhaps the most powerful mage at the time, at least among the dwarves. Though the war was bloody and lasted for over a century, the southern clans had not only managed to push out the invading Khalladori Loyalists, but even began a counter invasion of the north. Finally, on the 2nd of Galmore 1760 A.o.M., the two sides made peace. The clans that had fought would be allowed to leave and form their own land, and the dwarves of either side parted cursing the other.
After being granted their freedom, many of the dwarves considered parting ways with the clans they fought beside, but after discussing it further, they decided on establishing a federation between them. Each clan would have land of their own, that they would have direct control of. However, one clan would be watching over the rest, making sure they all worked together and would take charge whenever conflict arose. None of the other clans could think of a better group to follow than Emerald Eye, who many had sworn loyalty to anyway already. They were the reason many of their clans even existed, and had refused to surrender even after their hoard was stolen from them. After organizing everything over a period of seven years, the Federation of the Dwarven Lords was created. Each leader of a clan would rule as a lord, and they could at any time talk to the lord of the Emerald Eye Clan, who doubled as the king of the federation. In return, they would be loyal to their clan, and give resources, pay taxes, and fight with them when it was needed. In celebration of the event, the master craftsman of weapons smithing forged an axe, which was enchanted by Ockenlost. The Axe of the Dwarven Lords became a symbol of the unity between the clans who had fought for their freedom, and a symbol of their loyalty to Clan Emeraldeye, the largest gemstone embedded in the axe being an emerald.
It did not take long for their model of government to be put to the test. Shortly after (for a dwarf) they had begun to stabilize, a new threat moved into the Archaism Mountains: elves. Though initially friendly and welcoming towards the elves who had apparently taken care of many of the monsters that used to reside in the mountains, they began to settle in and establish fortifications, which made many of the federation clans suspicious. More than one group of elves was later found sneaking around the countryside, as if they were looking for something. After forcing each group they caught to return to their position in the mountains, the dwarves started to grow impatient with their new mountain neighbors, and even began to prepare their military should anything happen. But the elves were first to strike, nearly wiping out an entire clan's stronghold, only stopped when reinforcements arrived. War had started, but the dwarves knew little about these elves. There appeared to be thousands within the mountains, but they refrained from attacking once the dwarven armies had arrived. Many worried this was simply the vanguard to a much larger force. If that was the case, the clans knew they had no time to spare and had to dislodge them before they could reinforce their position even more. While the elves may have thought their position unassailable, the dwarves were familiar with mountains and fighting within them, and destroyed the overconfident elves. It was still not easy, and many dwarves lost their lives in the assault, but the elves surrendered faster than the clans had expected. Yet after just fifty years, the elves were back in force. While the elves were not doing anything aggressive towards the federation and even regularly sent emissaries to calm their nerves, the dwarves had grown to mistrust them.
Though the dwarves of the federation had turned their back on their old countrymen up north, news finally reached them that they had fought the elves as well, and were just wrapping up their second war with them. Upon learning of this, the two began to talk of a temporary alliance while they were dealing with these intruders. The federation reported an estimated 15,000 elves in the mountains to the south alone, with an unknown amount to the north and deeper east. Though the two still held grudges against each other for their own war previously, they decided they would trust dwarves over elves any day, and they got to work. While craftsmen from both sides made weapons and armor to supply a coalition, the federation scouted the mountains, taking careful notes of elven positions and troop movements. Finally, in 1901 A.o.M. the dwarves launched an assault against the mountains all at once, a surprise attack conducted under the cover of night to each encampment of elves. No camp, outpost, or fort was left untouched, and the few elves that managed to survive that night only did so by fleeing east. The dwarves had proven themselves masters of the mountains. Though the elves launched a massive counterattack, they could not retake the fortifications that the dwarves now held for themselves. Near the end of the war, miners from both sides teamed up and created a massive tunnel that stretched all the way to the eastern side of the Archaism Mountains. Sending a single army through, they emerged behind enemy lines, and managed to destroy two heavily fortified elven strongholds. Seeing that they were under threat of being outflanked, the elves in the mountains retreated, and peace was made in the dwarves' favor.
For the next two centuries, the Federation would prosper greatly, with new clans being founded further south and west. A defense pact was made between the Federation and Khallador, who felt they were kinsmen once more after defeating the elves together. yet, peace would not last. In 2132 A.o.M. it was revealed that the elves had been teleporting soldiers into abandoned mines along the Archaism Mountains, from which they emerged and began to attack. Both of the dwarven nations fought together to defend their homes in one of the bloodiest and shortest wars in their history. Though it was close, everything stopped after the First Cataclysm occurred. Afterward, the dwarves and elves could no longer use magic. Cut off from reinforcements and more than 90% of their troops no longer being able to put up a fight, the remaining elves were slaughtered.
Once everything was over, the two dwarven nations made amends with each other. The Federation was gifted the Shield of the Khallador, a symbol of Mountain Crown's rule. In return, the Federation gave them the axe they had made. The two vowed to never fight against one another again after that, even though they were of different kingdoms. Yet, the two were forced to retreat into their strongholds until the Cataclysm ended. Once they felt confident enough to leave their fortresses, they found that the world had changed a bit, but business went on as usual. New kingdoms have sprouted in the west, and while Khallador scorned outsiders and hid inside their own lands, the Federation of the Dwarven Lords greeted their new neighbors. The clans of the Federation happily welcomed each new kingdom they came across, as well as offering their services should they need anything such as tools, weapons or armor, for a price. They also made the final peace with the few remaining elves from the east, who had a crumbling empire to worry about. However, not all of their new neighbors were befriended so easily. Orcs had moved into the mountains and quickly began to attack the countryside, to great effect. They were much stronger than the elves and, though their attacks started slow, their assaults went from a small trickle to a steady stream of thousands.
During the Second Cataclysm, some of the clans hid within their strongholds once more, while others decided to continue working and adventuring while helping as many foreign nations as they could, of which few would survive. Though magic was lost, there were few clans that specialized in it, and most relied on their kinsmen to the north for magical services. For a time, the Federation would be neighbors to the Verdamidian Republic, who would hire the dwarves for their services extensively. For over a century the dwarves and humans of the republic worked very closely together until the republic's collapse, after which point the Federation became close allies with the growing Almaridian Empire. The Federation would help them conquer the lands of Hrube and Lorchon.
Age of Restoration
Besides helping their Almaridian Allies in taking the region of Zelyr, of which they got a piece of, the Federation has mostly kept to themselves politically, its people working to fulfill many of the orders for weapons, armors, and other goods fashioned by the dwarves. Though they did not fight in the War of the Warlocks themselves, they sent armor, weapons and mercenaries to assist the League of Tilliden. With magic back, they have been doing what they can to slowly relearn and integrate it into their society, but much of the available resources are being taken by the Almaridian Empire, and many were not heavy users of magic anyway.
In many ways, the clans of the Federation are identical to the clans of Khallador, but certain things are different on a social level. Most of the clans remain unspecialized and aim to be perfectionists in all crafts, but some have started to hone their skills in specific craft. This has partly been done at least to help outsiders know what clan to go to should they need a specific service, such as the forging of weapons, armor, the brewing of potions, the best ale, or the best fighters for mercenaries. While this has also made it so that most clans do not compete with each other, those that decide to specialize in the same domain as another make that clan a rival. Though tensions between rival clans are mostly cool and friendly, individual craftsmen may harbor strong resentment if their clan falls behind.
There are three symbols of status in the Federation: wealth, craft, and friends. While wealth and craft are self explanatory, friends refers to the general liking to outsiders and members of all different races. Dwarves who have many friends from different nations and of all different races are considered shining examples of what the Federation strives to be. However, becoming a true friend of a dwarf is not easy, and often requires years of socializing with them to be considered any kind of acquaintance at all. Those who earn the good graces of a dwarf are allowed into their stronghold on certain occasions, and is one of the only ways to get inside one legally. One may even be made an honorary member of the clan if they have helped them and are trusted by two or more members of it, a title that few non-dwarves receive, as it shows the clan is willing to open themselves up to potential betrayal. While betraying a dwarf clan is one potential way to get rich, it is by no means easy, and each clan has a far social reach. Total hostility from all clans, even those outside the Federation, as well as all the friends of the clan is what will result. Few decide that the payoff is worth the risk.
Unlike Khallador, there are more to the cities than the strongholds. In fact, to make life easier and more familiar to non-dwarves, most cities have been designed to mimic human and elven layouts. The lord rules from a palace or keep located near the center of the city, with typical walls and streets, though made of beautifully carved stone. Outsiders may not even know they are walking right above the dwarves stronghold, typically accessible by certain points in the city that are heavily guarded to make sure only members of the clan are let inside. And unlike Khallador, the dwarves mostly live above ground with everyone else, making them feel at home and included in their society. While the dwarves of the Federation are much more accommodating to outsiders and non-dwarves, that hospitality has its limits. They are still suspicious towards orcs, goblinoids, goliaths and drow, and still altogether shun duergar.
Each ruler of a clan in the Federation is given the title of Lord. Each lord controls the settlements that lie within their realm, and may govern it as they see fit, and are responsible for policing their own realm. Below each lord lies governors and mayors appointed by the lord who oversee cities and towns respectively. Additionally, each city has a non-dwarf council, who can at any time request the attention of any mayor or governor to bring their attention to certain issues they have. Should the mayor or governor be too busy, they may first appeal to the lord, then to the king should the lord be too pressed to address their concern. The non-dwarf councils are designed to make sure the needs of the other races are being adequately met, which thanks to the friendliness the dwarves show, is almost always the case.
While each lord controls their land, they do not have total control. Above the lords lie the King of the Federation, who is also the Lord of the Realm of the Emerald Eye Clan. Though each clan is free to make their own laws that apply to their realm only, laws created by the king can be applied to entire nation as a whole. While the lords do have some power to alter or veto these laws, it is limited.
The dwarves of the Federation are not kind to outsiders simply for the sake of being kind, but because the services of the dwarves are highly sought after. Known for their diligence in crafting items, many other nations regularly request weapons and armor to be forged, potions and ale to be brewed, and mercenaries to be hired. While most of the dwarven master craftsmen are further north in Khallador, there are a few of them that live among the clans of the Federation. Most other nations prefer to deal with the southern dwarves anyway, who are known to be much friendlier and reasonable in striking deals. Meanwhile, other races that make up the Federation also serve their roles more effectively than Khallador, with humans and halflings being given the help they need to make their own crafts and farming more effective, while their equivalents in Khallador are mostly forced to fend for themselves. Buying food from the non-dwarves means more dwarves can spend time fulfilling contracts, and making more money. So while Khallador's business is more profitable, the Federation gets far more traffic.
Another specialized service that is sold almost exclusively out of the Federation is the manufacturing and sale of standardized mechanical parts, such as gears and screws. The combination of the dwarves' metal working and the gnome's knowledge of mechanical parts and mechanisms has allowed them to create parts that are identical to each other, drastically improving the efficiency of all sorts of devices from watches to trebuchets. These parts are expensive though, and are mostly bought by the rich countries of the Almaridia, United Clans of Midiiz, Domuc Empire and Republic of Viltanor. The Federation has started creating a few factories where these parts can be mass produced, making thousands of them in just days. Aside from these very niche mechanical parts, the nation also sells plenty of raw ore, processed metal, precious gems, and stones.
Like their kinsmen to the north, the dwarves of the Federation are close followers of the Mordinsamman, and seek to venerate them by honing their craft as best they can.
- Political, Federation