The World of Orsus
Most Dwarves are from the continent of Cacthal and currently occupy a territory once known as Moradath. These days it is a loose group of regions held by individual clans. Some refer to it as Old Moradath.
(For Tolgarian Dwarves, see this)
Steadfast and loyal to a fault, few ever leave their home to go adventuring. What reason would they have? Loyalty to the clan and duty to your family are the most important aspects in life.
But times have changed. A once-united race now battles endlessly for control and survival. It is said that the Dwarves were once united by a mighty king before the Dragon Wars, but no longer. During an age referred to as “The Great Divide” the dwarves split away from its unifying leader, and the details of this event vary greatly from clan to clan.
Dwarven culture and reputation has shifted over the years. They used to be known for working with “black steel” or Adamantine, as they called it. The ability to work this metal has long fallen away to myth, and few even believe the metal exists at all.
King/Queen – Leader of the whole region, and usually bears the same namesake.
Jarl – Ruler of a major city not dominated by a King/Queen. The leader of the Silvercoin clan is a Jarl, as are the clan leaders throughout Moradath.
Freyr/Freya – Leader of a major clan within the King/Queens region. Usually pays taxes to the King/Queen.
Lendmann – Leader of a smaller branch from a given clan. Lendmann branch off when a clan becomes too large for the area its in.
The Dragonaxe clan may not have the most people, but some would argue they are the strongest regardless. They still claim dominance over the Dwarven Throne, though such a thing no longer exists (if it ever did). Their claim revolves around an axe supposedly possessed by their leader for generations, handed down to them from a mighty dragon before the Dragon Wars.
Allies – Braidmother
Enemies – Cherthammer
With the largest army out of all the clans, the Bronzeforgers claim to have invented the art of forging. Such a claim is heresy to many of the religious clans, who believe Moradin taught the dwarves the art of forging. Those in the Bronzeforger clan feel that part is open to interpretation. The most logical and progressive of all dwarvish clans, they butt heads with those who are more traditional. They aren’t very interested in reinstating a monarchy, but want to see a council of dwarves come together and rule as a republic.
Allies – Bronzehewer, Bronzecrafter
Enemies – Cherthammer, Ironcrafter
The Runicstone clan is unarguably the most religious of all major clans. They follow the teachings of Moradin to the letter, and strongly enforce his dogma. They believe that the dwarves can only be unified through faith, and wish to install a Theocracy.
Allies – Trirune,
Enemies – Cherthammer, Braidmother, Mulciber
The Ironcrafters claim to have the largest deposits of minerals within the entire continent. The variety and amount of weapons they produce usually causes little room to doubt that claim. However, such is the vastness of their craft, that few have time in their lives to actually use the weapons they produce. It is said they could defeat the Bronzeforgers in a day if they set down their tongs for axes.
Allies – Steelcrafter, Mithrilcrafter, Mulciber
Enemies – Cherthammer, Bronzeforger
The Redspear clan has ancient ties to the lands of Cacthal. While most clan names can be traced back to their origin, the Redspear clan cannot recall when their house was founded. Considered the most lawful of all dwarves, they always honor their word and detest those who break theirs. Honorable combat is the only acceptable form of combat, and is perhaps why they are defeated so often. The Redspear are said to hate the Cherthammer clan most of all.
Allies – Thunderspear, Silvercoin (sort of, see below)
Enemies – Cherthammer
The most barbaric and ruthless of all dwarvish clans, the Cherthammer value only strength. Wild and unpredictable, most clans fear dealing with them in battle and would rather pay tribute. However, they get bored from time to time and need a fight to prove their worth. Most find honor in battle, and only seek to expand their territory for the glory of their clan. They have no interest in resolving any disputes.
Allies – None. A sizable tribute will stop them from attacking for a time.
Enemies – Everyone.
A small clan with marriage ties to the Bronzeforgers
An old sect of the Bronzeforger clan that split off to be an outpost along its southern border.
The TriRune Clan
This clan sees Moradin as a triune or trinity deity, with three aspects of Mining, Smelting, and Crafting, named Avshlore, Rence, and Shkapey, respectively. They are loyal to Runicstone.
The Braidmother clan is a small faction who worship the Braidmother. A minor deity representing the womb of the earth, from which all life springs. They are loyal to Dragonaxe.
A minor house, loyal to the Ironcrafters. Said to make the strongest steel using an ancient and secret technique.
The Mithrilcrafter tribe is also loyal to the Ironcrafters. They are said to have been the clan to first broker peace with the elves, long before the Dragon Wars. While Mithril has long since been scarce in this region, this clan maintains the image of working with it frequently.
The clan of Hephaestus, or as the Dwarves call him, Vulcan. The Mulciber clan took a name inspired by Vulcan himself, and claim to wield the fire of the Volcano. Loyal to the Ironcrafter clan.
Loyal to the Redspear clan, the Thunderspears are the most conspicuous users of arcane magic.
The Boulderbreaker clan mostly wants to be left alone. Loyal to no clan, but friendly to all who treat them with respect, the Boulderbreakers are an order of monks. They’re seen as odd and eccentric by most other Dwarves, but non-Dwarves find them to be courteous, mellow, and kind.
The Shaletrackers live near the eastern edge of the Dwarven lands and are largely a peaceful farming and hunting tribe. The claim to brew the best ale.
The Silvercoin dwarves are said to be the greediest of them all, extorting a toll from any who wish to pass over their heavily-guarded bridge. They’ve been known to turn whole armies away for failing to pay their dues. They currently occupy Redspear territory but have not claimed allegiance to them. Rumors are that they worship Hades.
Other minor clans
Ironoath, Claysculptor, Giantcrusher, Starbreaker, Copperspike, Yellowbeard, Redbeard, Pegfoot, Orcbender, Trollsbane, Earthtamer, Rockblade, Firesword, and Alloysmith
The Golden Braid – (L/N) A mercenary band of leftover refugees and clanless dwarves. They still hold honor in high regard, but have no shame in fighting for the highest bidder. Many of them now worship Abbathor and actively seek to improve their wealth above all else. With no family left to protect, they only have themselves – and in that regard, only gold matters.
Tyrantsbane – (C/N) A band of outlaws and sell-swords. Most are just bandits these days, preying on supply wagons and interfering with anyone in a position of power. They despise the war, and everyone who perpetuates it. Any who join forsake their last names and cut their beards close against their face.
Moradin’s Hand – (L/N) A strict religious sect usually found within the Runicstone lands. The adhere to the word of Moradin and can be violent against those of other faiths.
Hammer of Moradin – (L/G) the holiest warriors of Moradin. Mostly paladins, these fighters seek to purge the world of evil and spread the love of Moradin wherever they go.