The World of Arith
The dwarven kingdom of Dralgamor is made up of 8 cantons spread throughout the Whitecrown Mountains. The cantons are connected by massive underground highways mined over centuries by the dwarven people. The eight cantons are:
This is the central canton, located above Lake Soizal high in the Whitecrowns. Bunnarsen was built half on the surface using the ruins of an ancient settlement here long before the dwarves broke ground. Goliaths living in the mountaintops of Whitecrown frequently visit Bunnarsen to trade, and the two races have lived in peaceful coexistence for as far as either of their histories have told. The canton serves as both a powerful hub of trade and market fairs and as the home of the cantons yearly Dwarfmoot.
The Cantons gather each year for an annual Dwarfmoot to air grievances, make new laws, administer justice between cantons by common vote and at times declare war or negotiate peace with outsiders from the lowlands.
The deepest canton, Grimdul is near a passage to the Darklands Kingdoms of Ghouls Mordent and Dorevu. The folk of Grimdul are the most pious of the cantonal dwarves, with special emphasis in worship placed on Clangeddin and surprisingly, the sun god Pelor, who the dwarves know as Khors. Moradin and Dumathoin are also praised in the halls of Grimdul.
Grimdul’s priests are kept busy protecting the cantons from raids. For the most part, the Dark Canton strives merely to keep the undead at bay. From time to time, its younger warriors mount raids against the Darkland kingdoms, slaughtering zombies and skeletons by the score and attempting to return to the canton before reprisals by the undead masters. Those who fail to return are sometimes seen again as black-armored servants of the undead.
Gunnacks is the hearth and home of the exceedingly numerous Gunnarksen clan, merchants and caravaneers of note who travel the routes from Gunnacks to Angbadur and onward to Hawkmoon. The Gunnacks canton is traditional in many ways, but for some reason, its people were the first to strike out and trade with the humans and elves in the lowlands west of the Whitecrowns. The halls possess the finest location in the Whitecrowns, with upper halls looking out over three beautiful valleys. The Gunnaks leave their idyllic home to trade and barter and see the world, and then (when they are wealthy enough) to settle down and have enormous numbers of children.
One of the great iron working halls, Hammerdin recently withdrew into itself, sealing the hall doors for the entire summer. This is often a sign among the cantons that the dwarves fight a war against creatures from the depths, although sometimes it merely signals that work is at a critical phase in some new feat of forgecraft, engineering or artifice. Dwarves outside of Hammerdin do not yet know the cause of its withdrawal.
Traditionally, Hammerdin is a place of great armorers and weaponsmiths, and many suits of the finest dwarven plate armor come from here. Some of its shields bear magical runes, while other bear magical blazons such as heraldic animals that can be summoned to serve. These magical shields are often called Hammershields and their creation is a long tradition and entirely a secret of the canton.
The warm lowlands of the Jurrlet Valley are surrounded by a ring of peaks that cut off some of the finest pastures in the Whitecrowns. The canton is defended by swarms of half-tamed griffons (fed by the dwarves, but not ridden into battle) and by mountain troops who depend on both their powerful pike walls and a system of battle wagons used as mobile strongpoints within the pike square formations for which the canton is known.
The Jurrlet Valley looks east to the Wildlands, and the dwarves of Jurrlet are anything but peaceful. They are amongst the most warlike of the cantons, and often find themselves defending their home from orcish and beastling hordes. The canton of Jurrlet was the first dwarven canton to make peace with the dragonborn of Krall. Despite the great reputation as mercenaries enjoyed by the Jurrlet dwarves, they are considered a bit of a reckless and greedy bunch, more interested in plunder than in proper mining and smithwork. Still, the armorsmiths at Hammerfall take their coin in exchange for new armor and fresh pikes each year.
Priests of Jurrlet supervise the brewing of very potent “firethroat” ales for sale in the lowlands, to both command high prices for it and to incapacitate non-dwarves often and thoroughly. Human drunkards who spend their time inebriated in firethroat are sometimes referred to as thralls of Jurrlet.
The holy ground of Highforge is also the home of the dwarven airship, as the maker of the first such airships was a priest of Moradin living here. Liftgas is still mined here and new ships are built every 20 years of so to replace lost ones, but the industry remains a tiny one, almost no one can afford the sums required to keep an airship flying.
The canton makes its reputation as a place of pilgrimage, as Moradin’s hammer rests within the temple here. The stories say that the god used this very hammer to make the first dwarves and imbue them with life. Dwarven smiths of all kinds and from all cantons make a point to visit Highforge for a blessing at least once a decade or so.
The purest and snowiest of the cantons, boasting the peaks of Mount Mergansar: the Kronhorn, and the Peshvai Glaciers in its crown, Vurdalim is also a bit of a breadbasket. Although it has great deposits of copper and salt, the Vurdalim fields of barley, wheat and potatoes are well-tended enough to feed some of its neighbors. The work itself is not considered especially noble or pleasing to the dwarven ancestors, and so most of the planting and harvest is done by the youngest of the Vurdalim canton dwarves. Fodder and grains from its fields and fruits from its orchards are sent to nearby cantons or stored away against future need, as the dwarves decide each year.
The canton’s elders ensure that the young learn the traditional ways of mining, worship, and the history of the canton by a law preventing them from leaving the fieldwork for the mines, merchant caravans, or mercenary companies until the young dwarves pass a test of knowledge and dwarven deportment. The young dwarves resent this law, but it does ensure the fields are well-tended and the lessons well-learned.
Vurdalim does a brisk side business in agricultural innovation. Due to the limits of their fields, the dwarves of Vurdalim are always researching and inventing ways to boost their crop production. Many of the Hawkmoon farmers owe their livelihoods to a Vurdalim innovation.
Northernmost of the cantons, the Rimeholt dwarves are famous for the ranger society they formed (the Order of the White Wolf) as well as the quality of their jewelry and runecarving. Much of the ancient lore is kept alive in their records and the sagas are faithfully copied for temples and libraries of the wealthy.
Beyond that, though, Rimeholt is famous for its dragon, Hrothvengr, a white dragon of middling years tamed by the Rimeholt dwarves. He guards the entrance to their hall on an enormous bed of copper coins and odd little pebbles, and seems to be a bit dim-witted (even for a white dragon), as he is convinced his hoard is worth a great deal. Other cantons try magic, various drugs and poisons, and even simple bribery to convince other dragons to take similar positions guarding their halls, but thus far none have succeeded.
Hrothvengr is treated with respect by the Rimeholt dwarves. Visitors who mock the dragon are punished soon enough, as Hrothvengr can charm those he feels are insufficiently awed.
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