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Genealogy of the Dwarvesby Jesper Andersen
I am writing this because I wanted to work out a solution to some of the inconsistencies in the history of the dwarven race in Mystara that have bothered me. I also wanted to tie this revised genealogy to a number of campaign plots in my version of Mystara and serve up a number of adventure hooks, you may use if you like.
Problems with the dwarven genealogy
From the various Gazetteers and the Hollow World boxed set, we know that Kagyar the Artisan feared another cataclysmic event similar to the Great Rain of Fire in the Blackmoor Era and so he created a race that could endure such a catastrophe.
Using the original dwarves, who were succumbing to disease, war and radiation poisoning, he perfected the race into a new studier people, resistant to magic and poison and naturally inclined to live under the earth. These dwarves had their memories erased and were programmed to think that they were the first of their kind – the chosen people of Kagyar. He places this new people in isolation in Rockhome. This happened in 1800 BC.
At the same time, we are told, Kagyar transports a number of the original weaker dwarves to the Hollow World, where they become the Kogolor Dwarves.
After this, there are no more dwarves in the outer world except the isolated “new dwarves” deep within Rockhome. Here they live in isolation and prosper and grow in numbers, but also fight many armies of invading humanoids. Such is the intensity of the humanoid “siege” on Rockhome that the dwarves manage to miss contact with the Nithian Empire, 1500-500 BC, entirely. In fact, they don’t emerge and have contact with humans until several years after the famous Battle of Sardal Pass in 492 BC (the dwarven Year 0).
So, what is wrong with that? Well, two things cause problems: 1) According to Gaz8 The Five Shires, dwarves under Loktal Ironshield ruled the Five Shires in the years 929-912 BC and dwarves fight orcs for control of the Shires almost an entire decade before that and 2) according to Gaz7 Northern Reaches, dwarves migrate with gnomes into the Northern Reaches in 2500 BC and still have a thriving culture there in 1500 BC.
According to the Hollow World boxed set, DM Guide page 12, Kagyar also “upgrades” the dwarves in the Northern Reaches, giving all his new dwarves false memories of how the Northern Reaches dwarves (later Modrigswerg dwarves) originally came from Rockhome. This is particularly clumsy because according to legends, the Modrigswerg were banished for consorting with dark elves and humans in service of the “Father of Demons” – why would they be banished more than 1,000 years before the dwarves even had contact with humans?
So, the timelines of the Northern Reaches, Rockhome and the Five Shires need to be made compatible, and I have come up with a story that might fit that purpose. It is actually very simple; not all of the original dwarves were either transported into the Hollow World or re-made into Kagyar’s new and improved race – some remained in the outer world.
Up next: Revised Genealogy of the Dwarven Race
Revised Genealogy of the Dwarven Race
This timeline is a mix of canon material and my own fiction (marked as blue text). Also, the expressions First Dwarves (the original race) and Dengar Dwarves (Kagyar’s modified race) are my own names to avoid confusion in the text.
BC 6000 – The Dawn of the Sentient Races
Dwarves are barbaric mountain and foothill dwellers, mostly goatherds. (HW)
BC 4500 – Beastmen Races appear
The immortal Hel reincarnates evil souls. They become the first beastmen of Mystara and many centuries later begin to breed true into many humanoid races (goblins, orcs, ogres etc.) (HW)
BC 4550 – Olaf Grunndi starts his quest to collect all knowledge in the world
The famous First Dwarf terranaut and explorer Olaf Grunndi travels all over Mystara with a tribe of sprites in his special golem, Howdah, collecting all the known knowledge of the world and recording it in a diminutive library penned by the sprites.
BC 4005 – Crash of the F.S.S Beagle
The otherworldly space travelling ship F.S.S. Beagle from the Galactic Survey Bureau of the Galactic Federation crashes on Mystara (DA3)
BC 4000 – Blackmoor independent
The Afridhi tribes invade the Thonian Empire and Blackmoor achieves independence. Using technology from the Beagle, Blackmoor begins a meteoric rise to technological dominance (DA3)+(HW)
BC 3850 – Stupendous Repository of Arcane Lore completed
After centuries of questing and constructing, Olaf Grunndi finally completes his Stupendous Repository of Arcane Lore (see AC11 Book of Wondrous Inventions, page 73+74) in the First Dwarf city under Mount Caylorne. An entire tribe of sprites live within the machine and maintain the huge micro-library inside, answering questions put to them on silver discs.
Olaf Grunndi later starts his quest for immortality but dies during it.
BC 3000 – The Great Rain of Fire
The Blackmoor world comes to an abrupt end in the world cataclysm and the planet shifts its axis (Gaz6)
BC 2930 – Caylorne is abandoned
The First Dwarf city under Mount Caylorne was far enough away from Blackmoor that it was not immediately destroyed in the cataclysm. However, the shifting of the planet’s axis means that it is now dangerously close to the new pole and the freezing cold forces the inhabitants to abandon their underground city and seek refuge elsewhere. The sprite clan in the Stupendous Repository of Arcane Lore is left to survive on its own.
BC 2900 – Creation of the Gnomes
The immortal Garl Glitterlode creates the race of the Gnomes, planting colonies of them in what would later become (eastern) Rockhome and the mountains of the northern continent (HW)
BC 2500 – Settlements in Northern Reaches
Gnomes and dwarves enter the Northern Reaches region and settle in its hills and mountains as the continental ice sheets recede (HW)
BC 2450 – First Dwarves teach humans to forge metal
Clans of First Dwarves in Norwold interact with primitive human tribes and teach them the art of forging copper and bronze. Particularly the Antalian tribe adopts these new techniques.
BC 2400 – Rise of the Antalians
A human culture, the Antalian tribe (descendants of the Neather) are flourishing in the area later to be called Norwold (HW)
BC 2000 – First humans in Northern Reaches
The first humans settle in the coastal and island lowlands of Northern Reaches (Gaz7). They are Antalian colonists (HW)
BC 1800 – Transformation of the First Dwarves
The race of the First Dwarves is slowly, inevitably dying out. Kagyar the Artisan decides to create a race which will prove resistant to annihilation like that which destroyed Blackmoor. From the ancient dwarven race – the ‘First Dwarves’ – he constructs the “modern” dwarves (hereafter called Dengar Dwarves), even more craft-oriented, and very resistant to radiation poisoning (Gaz6)
At this point and for 1400 years after, there is no connection between the Dengar Dwarves of Rockhome and any of the humans, elves or halflings of the world outside. The First Dwarves of e.g. the Northern Reaches and Norwold are known to the humans as the only dwarven race.
BC 1722 – The Great Horde ravages Norwold
The Great Horde of King Loark (humanoids) ravages Norwold, sending Antalian culture into a dark age. The Antalians who are not transported to the Hollow World eventually become the barbarian people of the Heldann Freeholds (HW)
The last First Dwarves of Norwold are wiped out by the Great Horde, leaving behind few mines, strongholds, temples, forges and other clues to their existence.
BC 1720 – First Dwarves learn of the fate of their kin
The First Dwarves of the Northern Reaches are greatly saddened when they learn of the fate of their kin at the hands of the Great Horde. Many debate what can be done to protect the dwarven race. In secret, the Modrigswerg Clan begins experimenting with dark un-dwarfish rituals.
BC 1715 – The Father of Demons notice the Modrigswerg
The immortal, who goes under the name The Father of Demons (some say Loki, others Orcus), begins corrupting the Modrigswerg clan, who is thirsting for knowledge and power in an attempt to halt the extinction of their race. He puts them in contact with the svartalf race, who teaches them life-binding rituals and other dark magic in exchange for their craftsmanship.
BC 1709 – The Great Horde settles in Broken Lands
King Loark’s Great Horde finally settles in present day Broken Lands (HW)
BC 1700 – Blackmoor device explodes in Glantri
The elves accidentally trigger a Blackmoor device, creating a mini-cataclysm, which blasts the Broken Lands transforming them into what they are today and burying the Great Horde and King Loark with it (Gaz10)
BC 1650 – Banishment of the Modrigswerg clan
Discovering that the Modrigswerg Clan has engaged in foul rituals and consorted with Svartalfes and evil human servants of the ‘Father of Demons’, the clan is banished by the remaining First Dwarf clans of the Northern Reaches and exiled to remote caves in the wilderness. This does not stop the Modrigswerg, however, who grow more and more powerful due to their new magical powers and relationship with the dark elves and other dark powers. They evolve into a new race of dwarves – an off-shot of First Dwarves but with dark magical powers and also various debilitating side effects.
BC 1500 – Rise of Nithia
The Nithian culture begins to flourish (HW)
Modest Bronze Age human cultures in the eastern lowlands of the Northern Reaches (Gaz7)
Sophisticated gnomish and First Dwarven cultures co-exist with primitive giantish clans in western uplands (Gaz7)
A few Nithian settlers become the first men of Darokin (Gaz11)
BC 1450 – Rapidly declining First Dwarf culture
While the Modrigswerg grow in power (but not in numbers), the other First Dwarf clans of the Northern Reaches are in decline. War with the giants and humanoids as well as disease and a low fertility rate is slowly ending their time in this world.
BC 1400 – Denwarf Departs
The ruler Denwarf departs into the caves beneath Dengar, leaving the dwarf king Everast I as ruler of Rockhome
BC 1300 – Hin make landfall
Halflings mass migrate by ship from the southern continent and settle in the present-day Five Shires. There they befriend a pacifistic clan of elves called the Gentle Folk (Gaz8)
BC 1100 – Extinction of First Dwarves in Northern Reaches
The last remains of the last clan of First Dwarves in the Northern Reaches are killed off by trolls and disease. Now only the Modrigswerg remain – secluded in distant caves they become the focus of north men’s folk tales and stories about items that the dwarves craft for powerful immortals or giants.
BC 1050 – Nithia accidentally creates gnolls
Nithians experimenting on trolls accidentally create the gnoll race, which rebels and escapes and later invades Karameikos.
BC 1000 – Nithia enslaves Northern Reaches
Human cultures in the Northern Reaches are conquered and enslaved by the Nithian Empire. The Nithians stay out of the highlands, however, because they fear the gnolls and trolls living there (Gaz7)
The Nithians never explore the upper Urst-Urst valley, which is home to numerous humanoid tribes. Thus they fail to make contact with the Dengar dwarves via the Sardal pass.
BC 1000 – Massive humanoid migration sparks wars
In the time of the eleventh Dengar dwarven king, Blystar III, nonhuman tribal movements, caused by overpopulation in the Broken Lands, pits marauding tribes of orcs and goblins against the Dengar dwarves. This is the same tribal movement wave that sends the gnolls into ancient Traldar lands in what is now modern Karameikos (Gaz6) (Gaz10)
Gnoll invasion of Karameikos displaces orcs to the west – the orcs invade the Shires and establish the Realm of Othrong (Gaz8)
Many humans in Darokin flee the advancing gnolls by moving north – right into the arms of orcs, which few humans survive (Gaz11)
BC 965 – Hin rebellion against the orcs
The hin rise up and defeat their orc overlords. The Kingdom of Hindon is founded (Gaz8)
In the following decades, rumours of the wealth of Hindon travels far and wide and attracts nomad bands of orcs, men and First Dwarves, who come seeking its riches.
BC 938 – The Fall of Hindon
Orcs burn the Elderhall and the Dark Years begin. Orcs and First Dwarves fight for control of the halfling land (Gaz8)
BC 929 – Dwarven rule of Loktal Ironshield
Loktal Ironshield, one of the First Dwarves, is crowned King of the Glittering Land (the Shires) after he unites bands of treasure-seeking First Dwarves into an army and defeats the orcs. The hin are enslaved and forced to work in the mines. The riches of the realm attract human and orc invasions in the following years that weaken the dwarves (Gaz8)
BC 912 – The Second Rising
Loktal Ironshield defeats the orc and gnoll invasions but cannot then resist an uprising by the hin. He departs the Shires with what few followers that survive the battles. The hin found the realm of Shaerdon in the Shires (Gaz8)
BC 909 – Ironshield settles in Cruth Mountains
After wandering for three years in search of a place to settle, Loktal Ironshield and his ragged 400 First Dwarf followers finally come upon a beautiful valley hidden between two spurs of a mountain in the Cruth Range. There, they discover a large cavern system with hidden waterfalls. What’s more, they discover wealth in the form of precious metals and gems. With their own hands, they begin the long hard process of turning the mountain into a new home – Thunderdelve, or as they come to call it: “The Halls of Paradise” (this links to the dwarven halls in the solo adventure XS2 Thunderdelve Mountain)
BC 898 – Nithians find Thunderdelve
For more than a decade the First Dwarves of Thunderdelve have lived in relative peace in their mountain, guarding their newly found riches against raiding tribes of orcs and goblins from the Cruth Mountains and trading metal wares for food with the nomadic human tribes in the area. Then one day a group of Nithian explorers come to the valley. Cautiously, Loktal Ironshield enters into negotiations with them. He knows that if the humans discover the wealth of the mountain, they are likely to try and seize it using slave armies and dark sorcery. That is why no humans are admitted inside the dwarf stronghold – all trading occur outside the gates of Thunderdelve, which are heavily guarded.
The Nithians appreciate the metalwork of the dwarves and are willing to trade food, clothes and other things the dwarves can’t produce themselves for the dwarves’ craft. In the decades that follow, Thunderdelve prospers and grows from the trade with the Nithians and more First Dwarves start to show up at Ironshield’s gate, eager to enter the safety of the Halls of Paradise.
BC 877 – Death of Loktal Ironshield
After a long life as conqueror, dictator and finally king under the mountain, Loktal Ironshield dies in his bed and is succeeded by his son, Renar. For another hundred years, the Thunderdelve clan slowly grows inside the mountain, refining their craft in metals, stone and gems, carving halls of unearthly beauty.
BC 800 – Elves settle in Alfheim and humans in Darokin
Elves drive humanoids from the open plains in central present-day Darokin and begin cultivating their forest. Human clans begin to build permanent settlements in Darokin (Gaz11)
BC 781 – Crowning of King Vitroin
Vitroin, son of Renar, son of Loktal, is crowned king of Thunderdelve when Renar dies. He goes on to forge the Hammer of Vitroin (see XS2) to protect the Halls of Paradise.
BC 775 – Alfheim elves in contact with Thunderdelve
Word of the arrival of the elves on the plains north of Thunderdelve and of the enormous changes their climate-control spells are bringing to the area reach the First Dwarves of Thunderdelve. Soon after, elven explorers arrive at the gates of the dwarven city. The dwarves distrust the elves, who so freely are changing the world around them in such drastic ways, but limited trade is established between the two races.
BC 767 – Last follower of Loktal Ironshield dies
The last of the followers of Loktal, who actually as a young dwarf witnessed the exodus from the Shires after the defeat in BC 912, dies of old age.
BC 700 – Mealiden is acclaimed king of Alfheim
The Canolbarth Forest is still growing and expanding and Mealiden rises to become the king of his people, all the while fighting off invasions by angry Nithians who have lost their precious rain water and slowly are entering the decline of their empire (Gaz5)
The increasing hostility between Alfheim and the Nithian Empire means a drastic decline in trade between Nithia and Thunderdelve. Hard times fall upon the dwarves, who blame the elves for their problems.
BC 633 – Fall of the Halls of Paradise
Fire wyrms known as fyrsnaca invade the realm of Thunderdelve from below, causing massive damage to the dwarven halls and killing hundreds, cutting the First Dwarves off from their mines and the Forge of Power below their halls. The remains of the Thunderdelve clan is scattered across southern Darokin, where they are preyed upon by brigands and bands of humanoids. Many lives are lost.
BC 632 – Mealiden turns away dwarven refugees
Baran, son of Vitrion, leads his people to King Mealiden of Alfheim and requests aid in reclaiming Thunderdelve but is turned away.
The Nithians no longer travel this far west and are also of no help to the dwarves, who begin a nomad existence in smaller groups in the world of men.
BC 579 – Last of the First Dwarves dies
Toil, disease and war have taken a hard toll on the last few First Dwarves of the Known World who escaped the fall of Thunderdelve. Now, the race is truly extinct in the Outer World and only exists as the Kogolor dwarves in the Hollow World.
BC 500 – Collapse of the Nithian Empire
The Nithian Empire finally collapses and memory of it is purged from the world by the immortals (Gaz2)
The memory purge also affects the elves of Alfheim, who lose all record of their skirmishes with the Nithian Empire.
With the sudden collapse of the Nithian Empire, weak mainland human tribal cultures in the Northern Reaches are at the mercy of giantish clans. Within a few decades humans on the mainland are almost wiped out and revert to a barbarian state (Gaz7)
BC 493 – Queen Udbala raises Great Horde again
Goblins and gnolls in the Altan Tepe Mountains flock to Queen Udbala’s new Great Horde, which she marches north towards Rockhome (Gaz10)
BC 492 – Battle of Sardal Pass
The Rockhome borders are finally secured against the nonhumans in the Battle of Sardal Pass. This is Year 0 in the Dengar dwarven calendar (Gaz6)
BC 490 – Kobolds overrun Falun Gnomes
Massive waves of kobolds, being driven out of Rockhome by the Dengar dwarves, find their way into the Northern Reaches, where they overrun and exterminate the gnome culture living in the Falun Caverns (Gaz7)
BC 475 – Dengar dwarves explore the outside world
The Dengar dwarves begin a program of exploration outside Rockhome. They meet Alasiyan nomads and begin trade with them (Gaz6)
Encountering humans and elves for the first time, Dengar dwarves are introduced to the concept of writing. They develop their own runic writing system and begin to commit their 1400 years of oral traditions to writing (Gaz 6)
BC 470 – Dengar dwarves learn of the Modrigswerg
Encountering the men of the Northern Reaches, Dengar dwarves are surprised to hear tales of the Modrigswerg – a clan of dwarves previously unknown to them! Since there are no First Dwarves left in the Northern Reaches, the men of that realm tell the Dengar dwarves the legends of how “you other dwarves” (i.e. First Dwarves) banished the Modrigswerg for their foul connection with dark powers and svartalves. The humans relate how the other dwarven clans struck the Modrigswerg from their clan stories, going so far as pretending that the Modrigswerg had never existed.
The Dengar dwarves are puzzled at first but over a number of decades, repeated myths, tales, rumours and misunderstandings gradually become accepted as historical facts and the Dengar dwarves record that at some time in the past, Modrigswerg dwarves were part of the Dengar dwarves but strayed from the path of Kagyar and were banished and that the dwarves of that time decided to leave them out of dwarven history entirely (which is why, apparently, sparse contact with humans was also forgotten).
Since the dwarves are still developing a written language of their own at this time, they believe that the oral traditions could have left out such significant events if it was chosen at the highest levels of dwarven society 600 or more years before.
BC 450 – Dengar dwarves settle in Karameikos
Dengar Dwarves settle in the gnomish community of Highforge in Karameikos, becoming the Tordal Clan.
BC 200 – The Eastwind Clan rises to power
In Darokin, orcs control the northern and western parts, while human settlements slowly evolve from small, independent holdings to large clans and, with the help of Alfheim elves, from there to the reign of the Eastwind Kings (Gaz11)
AC 0 – First Emperor of Thyatis Crowned
After Thyatis wins the war of liberation against Alphatia, the dwarves of the Makrast clan who helped Thyatis are awarded the Barony of Buhrohur in Thyatis, where they settle in the town of Makrast (Broken Mountain). Later the same clan helps construct the imperial palace in Thyatis City (DotE)
AC 12 – First trading station at Cape Alpha
The Thyatians build a trading station in the Great Bay, which reavers, paid by Alphatia, 3 years later burn to the ground (DotE)
AC 200 – Dengar dwarven colonization well underway
The dwarven policy of colonization outside Rockhome is well underway. Human communities and nations generally welcome their Dengar dwarven additions (Gaz 6)
AC 386 – Dengar Dwarves establish Stormhaven in Norwold
Dengar Dwarves from Rockhome explore Norwold and establish the clan hold of Stormhaven (described in CM1 Test of the Warlords). They become the Denkres clan.
AC 400 – Dengar Dwarves establish one more colony in Norwold
Between 400-425 AC the Dengar dwarven clan Barrad is established in the Eagles’ Barrier Mountains in Norwold north of the clan hold of the Stormhaven dwarves. In time, they establish the Stonepeak Kingdom and carve long systems of caverns under the mountains.
AC 480 – Dengar dwarves help establish Alphatian colony
When Emperor Volospin III begins his foolhardy attempt to conquer Norwold for Alphatia, some Dengar dwarves from the Stonepeak Kingdom in Eagles’ Barrier Mountains help construct the first town at the mouth of Sabre River.
AC 491 – Destruction of the Stonepeak Kingdom
Less than a century after it was founded, the Stonepeak Kingdom collapses, when the dwarves unleash some terrible evil far beneath the mountains. Nobody knows exactly what happened but most dwarves are killed and only a few hundred make it back to a life in exile in Stormhaven to the south.
AC 600 – Rockhome dwarves emigrate to Northern Reaches
Over the next 4 centuries a large number of Dengar dwarves emigrate from Rockhome to the Northern Reaches, eventually by AC 1000 making up two percent of the total population (Gaz7)
AC 733 – Denkres explorers discover traces of First Dwarves in Norwold
Dengar dwarves of the Denkres clan in Norwold are surprised to find traces of an earlier civilization much like their own in the mountains of Norwold. The runic language predates the Dengar dwarves’ language by more than a thousand years and they cannot read it but many things seem to suggest that a race of ‘short folk’ existed long ago.
AC 737 – Royal College of Sages founded in Rockhome
In response to several reports of archaeological digs in Norwold that has uncovered traces of what appears to be an ancient dwarven civilization, the king of Rockhome gives his blessing to the establishment of a league of scholars who can explore the truth behind these fantastic claims. This becomes the Royal College of Sages.
Officially, it is merely a scholarly organisation recording various bits of history. Secretly, it is a government agency investigating any evidence of a previous dwarven race or civilization.
AC 802 – Glantrian gold rush
Dengar dwarves are accused of bringing plague to Glantri, resulting in hatred that lasts until this day (Gaz6)
AC 803 – Wyrwarf clan founded
The Wyrwarf clan is established as an actual clan in Rockhome (Gaz6)
AC 828 – Last dwarves expelled from Glantri
The Dengar dwarves leave to settle elsewhere, some relocate to the Minrothad Guilds (Gaz9)
AC 841 – Dengar dwarves establish Stronghold
The Dengar dwarves that took ship passage with the Minrothad ships establish the dwarven port of Stronghold in the Minrothad Isles (Gaz9)
AC 853 – Stonepeak Kingdom reclaimed
Under the leadership of the Dengar dwarf Dorin Helmcleaver of the old Barrad clan still in exile in Stormhaven, a party of adventurers venture into the Stonepeak Kingdom to reclaim it from the ancient evil that has ruled there for hundreds of years. At the end, they face a terrible demon in battle and are almost defeated. A young mage, trying to help Doric, casts a spell of conjuration from a powerful scroll he does not fully understand. It summons a great big hissing steam train from another world (see AC11 Book of Wondrous Inventions, page 34-35).
AC 854 – Doric Helmcleaver crowned Thane of Stonepeak
As the Barrad clan rejoice in returning to the realm of Stonepeak after centuries in exile, Doric is proclaimed their new thane (king).
AC 856 – Dwarves make steam train run
Experimenting, the dwarves of Stonepeak succeed in making the steam train run, but they quickly run out of coal and so stop again. Later, a captured subdued young red dragon is used to heat the boiler and the train starts making regular runs underneath the length of the Eagles’ Barrier Mountains.
AC 901 – Dragon grows too big for train
The young red dragon grows too big for the train, which is placed in storage.
AC 916 – Death of Doric Helmcleaver
Doric, thane of the realm of Stonepeak, dies of old age, leaving rulership of the Barrad Clan to Gloignar, son of Faran.
AC 950 – Kingdom of Stoutfellow established
Dengar dwarves emigrate to Alphatia and help establish the Kingdom of Stoutfellow and the city of Denwarf-Hurgon (DotE)
AC 960 – Bifin, son of Bofin, crowned King of Rockhome
King Everast XV ascends to the throne of Rockhome (Gaz6)
AC 985 – Alphatia resettles Norwold
Alphatia begins constructing a fortress city on the ruins of the old trading station at Cape Alpha (DotE)
AC 988 – Thrildor Blackhammer ambassador to Five Shires
The Dengar Dwarf Thrildor Blackhammer is appointed Rockhome’s ambassador to the Five Shires (Gaz8)
AC 992 – Ericall becomes king of Norwold
Empress Eriadne allows her son Ericall to claim Norwold as his own kingdom – subject to the Empire. (DotE)
AC 1000 – Present day
The Royal College of Sages
Questions & Answers:
What clues are left in the world today about the First Dwarves?
Not many. The existence of the halls of Thunderdelve in the Cruth Mountains has yet to be discovered. Unless that happens by random chance, the only existing clue to a dwarven realm in that region would be ancient historical archives in Alfheim from the court of King Mealiden. If elven historians were able (and willing) to dig up such information, it could give adventurers a clue where to start looking.
Of course, if they manage to find The Halls of Paradise, they still have to brave its dangers and to decipher the clues left there by Loktal’s descendants (written in First Dwarvish). Such records in turn could give clues to the existence of the Nithian Empire, now long forgotten.
Other than that, it is really up to the Dungeon Master to place more clues as needed. Thousands of years have passed since the time of the First Dwarves, but scattered remains of their culture can turn up anywhere it fits in the campaign. Who knows, maybe the Players can even talk to a Modrigswerg and learn about the First Dwarves who expelled them (a sensitive topic of conversation!!) from dwarven society in the Northern Reaches.
If the Players travel back in time to visit ancient Blackmoor (see DA1-4, adventures in Blackmoor) they will see First Dwarves first hand and learn about them. They will still miss the link between First Dwarves and Dengar Dwarves though, because they don’t know about the impending cataclysm.
Ultimately, the best proof of the existence of First Dwarves is the Kogolor Dwarves in the Hollow World, but establishing contact with them should be the result of a long quest in itself.
Don’t the Hin have any proof left of the rule of Loktal Ironshield?
That was almost 2,000 years ago and no permanent, physical evidence exists from that era. The Hin record their history on tapestries in their clan halls. The tapestries and the oral tradition of interpreting them is the only way they have passed on information for centuries and so naturally it gets a little distorted over time.
Why don’t the dwarves simply take a look at the tapestries?
First of all, the tapestries are ancient, historical treasures to the Hin people, not to be handed over to nosy people of other races. They are extremely fragile (the old ones anyway) and protected and preserved. It would take a great feat of diplomacy for a non-Hin to be allowed to study them. Second, the Hin don’t really care whether the dwarves believe their stories of Loktal Ironshield or not. For so many centuries, the dwarves have demonstrated nothing but scorn for the Hin tales, proclaimed them fairy tales and lies. The Hin certainly don’t feel a need to convince the dwarves now. And the dwarves, by asking to investigate the tapestries, would be accepting that there is a possibility that the Hin were right all along – which would be a great loss of face for generations of dwarves in denial.
Why won’t Kagyar answer Commune spells about the First Dwarves?
In many ways, Kagyar wants the dwarves to live their own lives and figure things out on their own. He has left them to evolve and prosper as a people but he does not interfere much. In fact, it amuses him to see dwarven ingenuity spurred by the quest to discover their roots. In time, he may disclose the truth but for now he just watches.
How are the relations between the Five Shires and Rockhome today?
Definitely less strained that Gaz8 The Five Shires lets on. It seems implausible that Halflings could nurture the level of hatred and mistrust described in the Gazetteer for almost 2,000 years after less than half a century of dwarf rule (even if Loktal was a tyrant). Dwarves travelling outside Rockhome and encountering halflings could hear the tale of Loktal Ironshield. Most would dismiss it as fiction (and be somewhat insulted). For dwarves such as Thrildor Blackhammer, the dwarven ambassador in the Five Shires, it has become a point of interest worth investigating but only in ways that make no affront to Hin hospitality.
Dwarves in Rockhome have rarely even heard the legend of Loktal Ironshield unless they are scholars or sages themselves or have some sort of education in the history of the world outside. Among such dwarves, opinions wary from outright dismissal to intrigued yet discrete interest.
Among Halflings of the Fives Shires there is a general perception that the dwarves are embarrassed (and rightly so) because of the events in the past and chose to deal with it by denying history. The Hin are too polite and peaceloving, however, to contest the issue with anything but words. The legendary greed of dwarves makes them weary of dwarven visitors to their lands, but they do not feel the need to draw weapons and defend themselves whenever an unfamiliar dwarf shows his face in their shire.
What do the Modrigswerg remember of the First Dwarves?
Naturally, because they were expelled the Modrigswerg have none too fond memories of their First Dwarven kin. But that was hundreds of years ago and the Modrigswerg are primarily occupied with their dark research and not with family relations, so whatever information the Players can get from a Modrigswerg dwarf is likely to be riddled with holes and distorted.
Don’t the elves of Alfheim find it peculiar that they first meet the First Dwarves and later the Dengar Dwarves?
The elves never really distinguished between the two. To elves, the decades pass like minutes to lesser races. One minute a dwarf stronghold was there in the Cruth Mountains (Thunderdelve), the next minute dwarves come from the desert to the east from Rockhome. The Dengar dwarves never stopped to ask the first elves they met: “Have you seen our race before?”, so the elves thought little of the encounter and went on their way.
How can the secret of the First Dwarves and the Royal College of Sages be used in my campaign?
That is up to you really. If you like my take on the genealogy of the dwarves presented here, you can make the First Dwarves and Dengar Dwarves the official version of how the dwarves evolved on Mystara. In such a campaign, the Royal College of Sages provides ample excuse to send the Players into the wilderness or underground searching for lost civilizations, treasures and archaeological discoveries that could give a clue to the origin of the Dengar dwarves.
The Players could become involved in political intrigues in Rockhome, as the various clans either supports or opposes the efforts of the Royal College of Sages. Eventually, the Players may be able to track down information in Alfheim leading to the discovery of Thunderdelve and confirmation of the truth of Hin tales about Loktal Ironshield. Such a discovery should have severe cultural and political ramifications in Rockhome!
Afterwards, the Players may decide to re-establish Thunderdelve as a dwarven stronghold as outlined in XS2. This would require some diplomacy, however, since Thunderdelve is located within the borderlands of present-day Republic of Darokin and therefore falls under the rulership of the local magistrate. Gaining a degree of independence from Darokin – and cooperation with the Republic one would hope – could become the focus of several adventures.
Once word gets out of the natural riches still intact in the Halls of Paradise (despite the attack of the fyrsnaca), dwarves from Rockhome and Karameikos could start migrating to the dwarven realm. The Players would have to establish themselves as the rightful lords of Thunderdelve and could very likely be challenged by several powerful dwarves for the title. The rumours of wealth would also very likely draw down humanoids from the mountains – endangering the fledgling realm before it is even firmly re-established!
If you do not like the new genealogy of First Dwarves and Dengar dwarves, you can chose simply to use the Royal College of Sages without the secret agenda – as a scholarly organisation that sponsors treasure hunting expedition in the hopes of also securing valuable historical information.