The Last Empire
Long ago the Dwarven Clans carved their homes into the eastern face of The Rockspine. There was little trust between the clans for most of their history. Frequent scuffles and border skirmishes eventually lead to the foundation of Clanmoot, a bi-yearly meeting of the clan elders that formalizes borders and sets law. From the start of the war Clanmoot has been in constant session directing the defense of the Warspine.
The Clans held sway over the Greatspine Mountains and its valleys for centuries but had little use of the lands past the Rockspine. Over half a century ago the Clanmoot sold the 5 valleys west of The Rockspine to Duke Harsell of Kels, a human noble of the Empire. The dwarves allowed colonization of the valleys but charged a heavy toll for traffic through their lands.
The Firebeard Clan’s stronghold of Forge Rock is farthest north. They are known by their red hair and love of fire. The Firebeard make weapons of coal and pitch and fire. Their siege engines are legendary. King Erol Firebeard the Tall is their lord.
Clan Skullcrusher, the largest clan, spreads along the River Kels and holds Lakefort on the Warspine side and The factory citadel of Wheel deep within the Rockspine. Tasked with the defense of the weakest point of the Warspine, the dour Skullcrushers are pure business. They have felt the greatest losses and take the war very seriously. Warlord Spikefist holds all the power in the Skullcrusher clan by sheer skill at arms. Their young King Arklight Skullcrusher is unproven and infirm. Nothing but a figurehead.
The Night Steel Clan holds the ancient Citadel of Kor to the south of the Kels Gorge. They are known by their unique black steel and prowess at small unit tactics. They love to raid by night. The Night Steel Clan is actually a collection of bandit clans of old. Their politics is mercurial and difficult to fathom. Renk Blackshield is their current representative in Clanmoot. Their actual leader is unknown.
The Gardoth Clan the farthest to the south and based in the Mines of Gardoth. Gnomes, while rare, are welcome among the Gardoth. The war seldom reaches their lands so the Gardoth have become more numerous and prosperous. This is a source of tension with the other clans. The obese King Gorgor Gardoth is their chief. Mr. Neebles is his gnomish envoy and chief advisor.
One known pass through the Rockspine exists. It is a combination of roads, stone bridges and Dwarven tunnels winding along the deep gorge of the River Kels. While the century old road is well built, wide and sturdy it has gone largely unused. The Dwarven Clans had little use for the peaks and valleys beyond.