Plane of Terah - Age of Discovery
Mountains of Holdur
Most Dwarves of the Known World are born here, in the Mountains of Holdur. This broad range of mountains and hilly valleys are spread across nearly the entire northern hemisphere of the Galden continent. Due to the rugged terrain, high altitudes and meager farming, the Holdur Mountains are perhaps the least densely populated region in the entire Old World.
But where there is civilization, it is firmly entrenched and overlapping, be it deep mountain halls and mines, or hills riddled with doors and homes above and below.
The Western Peaks are claimed by the Ironclan Dwarves, an insular people highly protective of their privacy and sovereignty. An Ironclan settlement can be identified by the fortified and carved mountain peaks, great castles that guard access to deep mountain cities and sprawling mines. Each is a large, highly regimented hold that manages its own affairs, but swears fealty and grants levies in wartime to Great King Grathal and the Great Mountainhall of Kugodan.
Along the jagged north-central cost of Galden, among the peaks and river canyons that border the northern sea, the Erador Confederation thrives on trade and commerce. Though they are not the youngest Dwarven nation, as a society they are perhaps the least bound by tradition and the old ways, the most open to foreign culture, ideas, and indeed host a significant minority population of Humans, Gnomes, and others. This it not to say they can’t be as gruff and stubborn as any proper Dwarf, but they have achieved much of their influence, power, and of course wealth by being the only power willing to trade Dwarvencraft items and expertise for foreign goods and knowledge. Erador is the most actively involved of the Dwarven nations in the exploration, colonization, and exploitation of The New World.
The cluster of peaks and hills on the southeast side of the mountain chain is claimed by the Kingdom of Golan, named for the succession of kings that have seen fit to rule it. Thronepeak is perhaps the most single powerful of the mountain halls, with the largest standing army, as their High King focuses a great deal of his territories military and economic assets in the capital. It is the youngest kingdom, incorporated a mere 300 years ago, and the closest among the three to being a true meritocracy. Neither wealth nor tradition nor family ties limits one’s ultimate ambitions in Thronepeak, so long as one’s ambitions increase the glory and power of Golan’s Kingdom.
Inbetween the three great nations lay the Dwarven Hill Lands, where numerous settlements of neutral, independent, or outcast Dwarves, as well as many other races, have carved out or built their homes. This is a hot spot for independent commerce, with the locals able to pay in fine crafts for food, metals and other goods from more prosperous and rich lands. Though many settlements struggle, a few major trade hubs have become powerful indeed, and they have all had to deal with the surrounding, more powerful nations in one way or another. Occasionally small kingdoms have sprung up, only to be torn apart from outside or within, leaving this a relatively wild, undeveloped place.
Due to the many ways of life, and of course the egos of their rulers, the civilized Dwarves have not always gotten on harmoniously. Even now the three great nations exist in a kind of cold war, usually butting heads over the claiming of new lands and the settling of old grudges. The rugged terrain and distances between their centers of power make open conflict rare, but when tempers flare it is not uncommon for the great nations to muster suitably great armies and fight over small, seemingly inconsequential disagreements.