Atlas   Rules   Resources   Adventures   Stories       FAQ   Search   Links

History of the Dwarven Race

by Giulio Caroletti and Jacob Skytte (with thanks to various MML members for ideas)


Evolution of the hominoid races.

From the pythecantropon descend the homo minuscolus (proto-halfling), homo erectus (proto-human) and homo parvus (proto-dwarf). The hominoid races become humans, Brute-Men, dwarves, and halflings. Elves are later created by Ordana.

3000 BC

Blackmoor's Great Rain of Fire.

With the planet's shift in axis the dwarves find their homelands increasingly surrounded by ice. This drives the dwarves to spend less and less time on the surface, and consequently they expand their cavern complexes, growing fond of their underground creations.

Garal, who, along with Kagyar, is one of the chief Immortals of the dwarven pantheon, takes two dwarven clans away from the regions which have been destroyed by the Great Rain of Fire. Garal starts to modify them genetically, until, around 2900 BC, they have become the first of a new race known as gnomes. One of the clans is placed in the wilderness regions of the Rockhome area, while the other, more nomadic clan is taught to build crazy machineries that allow them to reach Vulcania.

2500 BC

Gnomes living in the Rockhome area explore the neighbouring sites. As the ice begins to recede, some of them settle in the area that will later be known as the Northern Reaches. They build dwellings both aboveground, close to the sea, and underground, in the Falun Caverns. The new settlers make contact with the dwarves already living in the area, and the two races become fast allies. The gnomes learn much about living underground from the dwarves, and both races benefit from trade with each other.

2500 - 1800 BC

Like the Brute-Men long before them, the dwarven race is becoming less and less suited to the environment and seem destined to ultimate extinction. Over the centuries they tend to become sterile, to bear fewer children, and to suffer from high child mortality.

Dwarves become increasingly reclusive and worried by the inevitable decline of their race, which they are unable to slow. By 2000 BC the dwarves of the Northern Reaches have become extremely isolated, having nearly no contact with the outer world, except through their gnome allies.

At this point in history, dwarves are perfectly able to learn arcane magic, but it is considered generally evil by their society, and studying arcane magic is greatly discouraged by the dwarven priests. Magic-using dwarves exist mostly as reclusive exiles, who live far from the settlements, often outside the mountains. The exceptions to this rule are extremely few, and the magic-users who still live among the dwarves hide their skills with great care.

Among the few wizards still hidden among the dwarves is the ruling family of the Hrukats clan. Desperate at the decline of the dwarven race, which has hit that particular clan the hardest, they contact the so-called "Dark Elves", who inhabit the far northern regions of the Northern Reaches. The Dark Elves are servitors of Loki in his aspect of the Father of Demons (in this case "demons" must not be taken literally; he is called so because, soon after gaining Immortality, he is said to have coupled with Hel to become father of the worst monsters, or "demons", that the Dark Elves know: Fenris the wolf, Garm the bloody-chested hound, and the great Worm of Midgard. These monsters will later become an integral part of the mythology of the Northern Reaches). The Dark Elves teach the wizards of the Hrukats clan necromantic magic, and they are able to research ways to slow the decline of their race by magical means.

After some time, the Hrukats clan experiences fewer stillborn children, their mortality decreases and their sterility fades. However, the clan begins to isolate itself from the other dwarves under the guidance of their leaders, who have effectively become Loki-worshipping dwarven wizards.

1800 BC

The Hrukats clan has cut almost all ties with their brethren, isolating themselves in the deepest caverns of the Northern Reaches. Many of them start developing psychoses as they grow older, due to the taint of the necromantic magic that is now an inherent part of them. During the decline, the vast majority of the population have become apathetic and ceased caring about the Immortals. Only a minority, mainly their leaders, actively worship the Father of Demons (in secret).

Having abandoned the dwarven cults, the Hrukats are considered outlaws by the other dwarves. The other clans decide to expel them because of their impious behaviour, removing any trace of their name from the dwarven chronicles. Instead they begin calling them Morkwarf ("Rotten Dwarves") because of their mental and moral degeneration.

The decline of the dwarven race has become so apparent that the two main divinities of the dwarven pantheon, Garal and Kagyar, decide to take action. They remove all remaining dwarves from the Known World, transplanting half of them to the Hollow World, and reshaping the other half into a new dwarven race, which is planted in the Rockhome region. The new dwarves are given false memories and believe that the Morkwarf also originally lived in the Rockhome lands. Garal and Kagyar decide to split among them the duties of caring for the dwarven races: Kogolor dwarves will be followers of Garal, while the Rockhome ones will follow Kagyar.

Kagyar and Garal also confront Loki. Kagyar is especially furious and he basically bullies the Entropic Immortal to remove the leaders of the Morkwarf clan, otherwise he will have the new dwarves destroy the clan entirely. Kagyar is upset that the former Hrukats clan gave up his worship, but he wants to give them the chance to return to him and doesn't think it's possible with their leaders actively worshipping Loki. The three Immortals come to an agreement: the wizard-priests of the Father of Demons will be removed from the Morkwarf and brought to the Hollow World, along with some of their apathetic followers. They are placed far away from the dwarves of Kogolor, on the continent of Suridal.

The remaining Morkwarf will remain untouched, apart from giving them false memories of having been exiled from Rockhome by the other dwarves, because of their leaders making an unholy alliance with the Dark Elves. They are supposedly left alone by the three Immortals, free to choose the path to pursue in their future. Kagyar's hope is that they will return to his worship (without any active encouragement) and repent their sins, otherwise he is willing to let them fall into decay and eventual slumber. However, Loki goes behind the others' backs, and plant ideas that convince the Morkwarf that the Immortals don't really care for the fate of mortals. They come to believe that Kagyar and Garal have refused to involve themselves for centuries, allowing the dwarves to suffer and decline. The Immortals who do involve themselves only play with mortals for their own amusement, as they could see that the Father of Demons (in fact Loki himself!) did, by tricking them into madness and destruction. The Morkwarf become frustrated and isolate themselves, both from outsiders and from each other. Although they are not really evil, they are prone to unpredictable psychotic episodes, which drive them further apart.

The necromantic arts the Morkwarf had learned from the Dark Elves are still practiced to some extent in the form of their ability to forge soul-binding magical items. Contrary to Rockhome dwarves, who are re-shaped to be unable to wield arcane magic, the Morkwarf can learn, although with some difficulties. However, only a rare few actually manage to learn, and madness seems to hit these magic-users sooner and more fiercely than their brethren. Much later, the Morkwarf clan will become known to human Antalian settlers of the Northern Reaches through ancient dwarven legends and direct contact with the dwarves. The word "Morkwarf" (Rotten Dwarves) is corrupted by the Antalians into "Modrigswerg." This term will eventually be adopted by the dwarves in turn.

The dwarves transplanted to the Hollow World, who become known as the Kogolor clans, thrive in their new lands. They have been placed in the eastern mountains of the continent Iciria, just north of the great equatorial mountain range, fairly distant from other sentient races. They have occasional contact with the Neathar tribes to the north and west, but are largely left to their own devices. They too have been reshaped by Garal, to be more like the original dwarves, less sour and not averse to dwelling on the surface, like they had become during their decline.

1800 - 1400 BC

Kagyar creates the dwarven golem Denwarf to assist the new Rockhome dwarves in the forging of their kingdom. Denwarf is the first King of Rockhome. He rules the dwarves for four centuries, during which the population rises from an original of 5'000 to 125'000 units. Around 1400 BC Denwarf discovers the caves of Dengar, where the dwarves will begin to build their capital, then he leaves them, disappearing into the caves beneath Dengar. To replace him as king, Denwarf appoints Everast I.

1397 BC

A colonising party of Shadow Elves, mostly Schattenalf followers of Atzanteotl are driven out of Aengmor (by the will of their patron). Retracing an earlier lost expedition's path to the Hollow World, they emerge just north of the great equatorial mountain range, right in the middle of the Kogolor Dwarf territory. They immediately begin a war against the dwarves, whose lands they want. The Immortal Kagyar causes Denwarf, the former leader of the Outer World's dwarves, to help the Kogolors against the Shadow Elves.

1395 BC

The Schattenalfen are badly beaten by the Kogolor dwarves and must break off the war. They continue travelling west, to an area not infested with dwarves, and settle there. Kagyar places Denwarf in a state of suspended animation, transferring him to a cavern deep beneath the Dengar caverns of Rockhome.

1000 - 500 BC

The Broken Lands are overpopulated. Broken Lands orcs, ogres, trolls, gnolls, and goblins migrate outward, especially southward, displacing other humanoid tribes before them. All forces join and raid Rockhome; they are defeated by the eleventh dwarven king, Blystar III. It is the start of centuries of war between dwarven clans and humanoid tribes, that go on for 500 years. Dwarves and orcs develop a complete hatred of each other. During this time the dwarves remain mostly isolationists. No contact will ever be made with the Nithian culture that is rising in the eastern lands. The only exception is the dwarven intervention in the Five Shires.

492 BC

Battle of Sardal Pass. Year 0 of the dwarven calendar. The Great Horde of Queen Ubdala of the Broken Lands is routed, the orcs utterly massacred. Ubdala dies. Hordes are routed south and west, crowding Cruth mountains and Altan Tepes.

490 BC

Kobold clans are driven into the uplands of the Northern Reaches from the west. They overrun and exterminate the gnomes of the Falun Caverns, and occupy their subterranean kingdoms. Gnomes continue thriving in other regions of the Known World, like Highforge in the Traldar lands.

500 - 100 BC

Finally free of the humanoid problem, dwarves begin exploration and colonisation of neighbouring territories. Among the first dwarven communities abroad are the Stronghollow clan, that settles in Highforge with the gnomes (475 BC) and the adventuring pioneers that leave for the west and build colonies in the Savage Coast (450 BC).

98 BC

Rebellion against the corrupt King Bollo of Rockhome - the Rockhome Senate is established.

0 AC

A dwarven community settles in Thyatis to build the fabled Imperial Palace.

12 AC

Dwarves who had had helped Thyatis in the war with Alphatia and worked on building projects for Zendrolion are granted a domain in the Altan Tepes, and found the town of Makrast. This later becomes the Barony of Buhrohur. It is the first dwarven settlement in human territory.

0 - 800 AC

After the beginning of relationships with the Thyatian lands, Rockhome dwarves begin to trade with the humans. Around 200 AC they have begin colonising into outside lands; they are usually welcomed into human communities.

802 AC

A gold rush in the Flaemish lands (an Alphatian dominion that will eventually become the nation of Glantri) brings many Rockhome dwarves into that nation. A plague sent by the orcish Immortal Yagrai spreads into the land, and the natives are convinced that the dwarves are responsible, resulting in a vicious war on the dwarves by the locals. Lycanthropes seem peculiarly susceptible to the plague - few werecreatures survive.

803 AC

Clan Wyrwarf is formed.

805 AC

Dwarves fleeing the anti-dwarf policies of the Flaemish lands establish small communities in the mountains of Nagpuri, Gunjab, and Peshmir.

828 AC

Lord Alexander Glantri, of Thyatian descent, captures Halzunthram in the Flaemish lands and confirms the land's independence from Alphatia. The population names the land Glantri in his honour. The new Republic of Glantri expels all dwarves, some of whom migrate to Darokin. Others depart on Minrothad ships to join the craftsmen of the Minrothad Isles; they settle on Fortress Island.

841 AC

The dwarven port of Stronghold is established on Fortress Island in Minrothad.

900 AC

A new wave of colonists begins to reach the eastern Savage Coast, including people from Ylaruam, Yavdlom, and the Thyatian Empire. They bring feudalism and class structure. Adventurers begin to establish domains that eventually develop into the Savage Baronies, and absorb the elven, dwarven, and human cultures already in the region. Settlers discover the Red Curse, but decide to stay anyway. A few halflings also begin to arrive on the Savage Coast, and are absorbed into local cultures.