The Bastion of the North
We shall not fail! We shall not fail. Man and beast, devil and Scourge, they could not overcome our solidarity. They failed to breach the great Kor. And never shall they breach the walls of our cities. Not now, not ever!
The Dwarven Confederation is comprised of several dozen city-states and smaller settlements controlled by the Dwarven clans of the Kor Mountain ranges. Even within the Kor, it is considered a defensive and economic alliance. The city-states possess equal political power in determining the Confederation’s collective actions, including approaches to international politics. Less populated settlements usually do not have a direct voice in any of the Confederation’s higher level proceedings but can express their opinions to one of the ruling clans.
The Dwarven Confederation seeks to maintain the peace and prosperity of its members. Part of this goal involves the continued defense of the Kor Mountains from foreign invaders and other malicious phenomena. The Kor city-states will band together to expel invaders or otherwise combat internal threats. They avoid involving themselves in any conflict not related to reactionary defense of the Confederation and its associated holdings. Of equal significance, the Confederation values internal and external economic enterprise. The Confederation has, and continues to, establish lucrative economic agreements with foreign powers that often lead to their political neutrality on the international stage. Their actions in the past have included trading, simultaneously, with belligerents on both sides during an international conflict. Culturally, the Confederation supports the idea of ideological solidarity amongst the Dwarves. Its constituents place great value in their racial and regional history. However, the members of each city-state possess strong regional pride for each of their settlements’ own cultural nuances.
The combined holdings of the Dwarven Confederation’s city-states make the organization the richest, if not one of the most richest, political bodies on the continent of Varia. Their location in the Kor Mountains gives the Confederation access to numerous mining sites, which include gold, silver, other precious metals, and gemstones, among others. However, this wealth in resources is allocated per location, so certain city-states may possess either monopolies or market control over some materials. The dwarven city-states are carved within the largest mountains of the Kor ranges.Their fortifications include massive stone gates, while cities often contain mechanical trappings for transportation and defensive structures. Every city-state contains advanced crafting facilities, most common being a smith’s forge. While the Confederation does not possess a national military, the city-states amass their own militias which are deployed during conflict. The average size of these militias equal about 10,000 soldiers. The value of all their assets totals well over one billion gold pieces.
Following the War of the Scourge, Bergam Stormshield of the Guardians of Avalon returned to the Kor Mountains with visions of a unified dwarven geopolitical entity. The Varian Coalition had exhibited to the Archcleric the benefits and strengths of pooling together the vast resources of multiple nations and factions for a singular cause. While the Kor Mountains remained free of the Scourge throughout the conflict, Bergam Stormshield prioritized securing the prospect of future threats, beyond just the Scourge, the Dwarven homelands for posterity. However, the dwarven strongholds, the predecessors to the dwarven city-states, remained stalwart in maintaining their independence and sense of identity in spite of the possible benefits of uniting as a single entity. Specifically, the clan leaders posed a vehement opposition to ever bending the knee to any one leader. Bergam Stormshield recognized that his fellow clan leaders would not agree to any alliance that would surrender their sovereignty. Therefore, he called for a summit of the Dwarven clan leaders to Kor's Peak, more commonly referred to as the First High Summit of Kor. Bergam hosted the clan representatives and their retinues with great hospitality, which he maintained for the over a year of the summit's proceedings. The summit consisted of several months of meetings between the clans, but Bergam Stormshield came to realize that mere words would not sway the stubborn clan leaders to put aside their difference. Therefore, the chosen of Kraite took matters into his own hands by invoking the Trials of Trust with over a dozen clan leaders and their envoys. The Trials required Bergam to commit great acts of heroism, bravery, and, some would argue, stupid recklessness, but at the completion of each, he would attain the trust of each clan. These Trials ranged from slaying dragons to acquiring great volumes of minerals from the earth to subduing threats from below that proved challenging to certain strongholds. However, the Trials proved a trifle to the Archcleric, who had overcome more trying tribulations during the War of the Scourge. So, with his success, Bergam gained the authority to make the clans enter a cooperative pact—the Pact of the Confederation—which spawned the entity known as the Dwarven Confederation. The establishment of the Dwarven Confederation at the First High Summit, among other events throughout the rest of Varia, marked the beginning of the Second Era. As it had been in the past, the dwarves of the newly founded Confederation retreated to their mountain strongholds in the Kor, isolating themselves from the budding powers to the south. The early years of the Confederation proved internally tumultuous. Bergam Stormshield's undertaking of what became known as the Twelve Trials of the Kor had resolved most of the clans' external conflicts within the mountain ranges. However, in the past, the dwarves had suffered from infighting over resources, trades, slights to honor, and even just random bouts of violence. These trifles remained even after they came to an agreement to cooperate. Bergam Stormshield pushed the boundaries of the Pact of the Confederation with actions that effectively strongarmed peace between the clans. His accomplishments and status as a chosen of Kraite overshadowed most resentments which resulted from his actions. He laid the foundations for further agreements between the clans that eventually resulted in the strongholds evolving into city-states; his immediate successors also formulated the intricate trading and resource management systems within the Kor Mountains' settlements. Nearing the end of the Second Era, the Confederation's city-states had succeeded in reclaiming and mapping out an entire subterranean tunnel system from denizens of the Kor's underground. This accomplishment remarkably improved travel in between the mountain strongholds which further strengthened the relations between each city-state. Eventually, as the Confederation's members continued to prosper with access to the Kor's vast resources, their sights turned to the south where the rest of Varia had finally organized back into independent geopolitical bodies. However, even as the rest of Varia slipped back into conflict, within and with one another, the Confederation remained stalwart in their alliance, content to aid and profit from one another. The warring to the south of the Kor had open new financial opportunities for the members of the Confederation, who opened trade into and out of the mountains to any willing parties. Thus, the city-states of the Dwarven Confederation helped usher in the Third Era, the current era filled with international turmoil. In a trend that scholars claim has related to these increased instances of war and strife throughout the continent, instances of Corruption and the Scourge arose. Around 670 3E, the Dwarven Confederation ceased trades with nations beyond the Kor as a result of conflicting interests between city-states. The members of the Confederation met for the Second High Summit of Kor. The agreements delineated during this meeting set boundaries for trades with foreign powers as well as bylaws for conflicts of interest between members. The results of the Second High Summit temporarily curbed the Confederation's city-states from effectively backing multiple foreign wars, though it ultimately still allowed members to trade with belligerent sides over long periods of time. However, the Second High Summit succeeded in establishing the Confederation's continent-wide non-aggression declarations, which had the city-states, in a technically non-legally binding statement, swear off international conflict. By the present day (3499 3E), the Dwarven Confederation remains the largest economic power in Varia. It has continued its policy of trading between warring political factions, so long as such actions did not devolve into the city-state's direct involvement with the conflict.
Demography and Population
Racial DemographicsUnsurprisingly, approximately 95% of the Dwarven Confederation's population is made up of dwarves. Of this percentage, the dwarven subraces divide into the following: 65% mountain, 25% hill, and 10% duergar. Following this stark percentage, all other races comprise the remaining 5% with an approximate majority to orcs/half-orcs and gnomes. The Confederation is known to only account for populaces within formal settlements in the Kor Mountain, which often excludes various monasteries and sheltered communities as well as the nomadic Goliath herds.
Class DemographicsThe Dwarven Confederations formal class structure contains only four tiers of status: Main Clan Citizens (25%), Branch Clan Citizens (50%), Clan-less Citizens (25%), and Zervdies (5%). Main Clan Citizens refer to individuals who have direct blood ties to the founding Dwarven clans of the Confederation. They typically hold positions of power within the major settlements or the Confederation's major social, political, and economic institutions. Branch Clan Citizens refer to those who have family ties of fealty or loyalty to Main Clan Citizens. In most ways aside from succession, Branch Clan Citizens possess equal rights as Main Clan Citizens and have opportunities for advancement. They typically have professions in relation to the Main Clan Citizens' associated franchises. Clan-less Citizens refer to unskilled workers, trainees, and journeymen not already born into Main Clans or Branch Clans. Through years of work (or notable acts in the case of adventurers), they can gain eligibility to become clan members. Typically, the illegitimate children of Clan members automatically attain this status. "Zervdah," or "zervdies for plural," refers to a dwarven term for "outsider" or "aliens" specifically coined for individuals that are resident to the Kor Mountains. This term does not typically apply to foreigners who travel into Confederation lands. They often include unskilled workers, the disenfranchised, criminals, and serfs; these individuals have essentially been outcast from Dwarven society with little to no opportunity for social elevation.
The Dwarven Confederation's territory includes the Kor Mountain Ranges (Eastern and Western), the Hills of Hammurn, the Kraitian coasts, and the Damned Isles. The dwarves have laid claim to these lands since the War of the Scourge. Several of the Main Clans have cited that their ancestors established their territories during the first Era.
Each dwarven city-state maintains its own militia, though many dedicate themselves fully to the defenses of their settlements. They possess forces equitable to several small armies, separated, but a substantial military when combined. The number and quality of these forces depends on the city-state, which sees some clans dedicating more to defense than others.
The Dwarven Confederations boasts of advanced mechanics in their city, farming, and smithing technologies compared to the rest of Varia. They have seemingly employed an assembly line form of production to maintain both quality and quantity, often trading away their surplus to their neighbors to the south. The recent rise of artificing as a valid profession has also promised to further the Dwarven Confederation's available technologies, specifically as a way to further integrate magic with mechanics beyond the few arcanists in the employ of the major clans.
Kraite, Sarod, and Doromis are the most widely worshipped gods in the Dwarven Confederation. Following them, deities associated with enterprise, such as Orina and then Ilm, also have notable followings (in the latter's case, Ilm is typically worshipped in the coastal and border settlements). Less openly, Rook has also had a notable following in ideology, though official sects of worship have avoided congregating in the name of the deity of tyranny.
The Dwarven Confederation was among the original organizations to have input on and included in the Avon Accords. Due to their seniority as a geopolitical body, the Confederation possesses the ability to approve or veto alterations to the Accords. Additionally, they commit to neutrality agreements with foreign powers. Economically, they maintain open trade with anyone who can afford the goods and services provided by their institutions.
Agriculture & Industry
The Dwarven Confederation is mainly an industrial and economic power, though it has several avenues for agriculture even within the Kor Mountains.
AgricultureWithin the mountain settlements, local populations have looked to sustainable cave farming. Within the caves, they usually cultivate fungus and crops that are more resilient to cold temperatures, such as broccoli, cabbage, kale, garlic, and some other green vegetables. As a result, it is not uncommon to encounter mountain-dwelling dwarves who eat little more than vegetables for their primary sustenance. Also, the dwarves of Hammurn have set up farming terraces near the eastern coastal areas to take advantage of the hilly terrain. For livestock, most settlements maintain small populations of goats and sheep in mountain-side pastures. The largest of the mountain cities host controlled populations of cows and pigs in cavern enclosures. Outside of the mountain cities, hunters and gatherers scour the slopes for game and rare plants. In either case of farming and animal husbandry, the use of divine magics to creating and maintaining the necessary environments is common. In the event of short supply, divine casters have also been called upon to produce food and water for city populaces.
IndustryThe Dwarven Confederation has a legendary reputation for craftsmen, especially in smithing. Each city dedicates significant resources to its mining and smithing operations, employing numerous citizens in the process. They produce metal goods from ingots to weapons armor and to construction parts. The Confederation also hosts some of the continent's most coveted jewelry-makers and engravers. Additionally, the Confederation also has a thriving brewing industry with their ales and brews being the preferred drinks of northern Varia. Artificing has proven to be a growing industry in recent years. The change has been attributed to discoveries of First Era technologies and further research into the ancient defenses used during the War of the Scourge. While artificers' goods have not reached the same level of broad marketability, their inventions have drawn the attention of more affluent patrons.
Trade & Transport
An underground tunnel system that weaves through the mountain ranges connects the major settlements of the Confederation. The entrances and exits to these tunnels are often controlled directly by militia forces from the nearest city-state. On the overland, ancient roads have remained in use through the less hazardous mountain passes, though these often see use only by residents of the few villages interspersed throughout the ranges.
The Dwarven Confederation has maintained an accessible public education system for all local denizens of the city-states with the exception of Zervdies. Their schooling often focuses on identifying and training youth in appropriate trades or professions prominent in the Confederation. Stonespeakers, the Confederation's dedicated scholars, usually head the city-states' educational institutions. Among the most respected professions include craftsmen (such as smiths and engravers), Stonespeakers, clergymen, prospectors, militia officials, and (recently) artificers. Book learning usually involves history with a focus on the dwarves' racial history and the Confederation's history thus far. Religious studies are also common amongst Main and Branch Clan members.
The Dwarven Confederation is known for their massive tiered city-states located almost exclusively within the Kor's largest mountains. By comparison, more villages or towns establish themselves in the open mountain passes and valleys, though none hold a candle to the extent and size of the mountain city-states. Most of these city-states have outlets onto open cliff- or mountain-faces that allow for travel through the overland without sacrificing too much of the settlement's defense. The largest of the city-states also have access to large magma chambers that they often dedicate as spaces for the city's smiths.
- Founding Date
- At the dawn of the Second Era
- Political, Confederation
- Alternative Names
- The Confederation, Kor Confederation, Kor Confederacy
- Government System
- Power Structure
- Economic System
- Market economy
- Partly stemming from their involvement with the Varian Coalition, the Confederation uses the platinum/gold/silver/copper currency system used in the rest of the continent. However, they do often mint their own money as a result of them possessing numerous lucrative mining operations.
- Kor Mountain Ranges
- Official Languages
- Neighboring Nations
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