Earthy types who have delved into the most intricate methods of crafting arms and armours. They are said to have the best craftsmen outside of the dwarven mountains.
The rich iron mines beneath Cabal were discovered decades ago by a small band of dwarven explorers from Thordin. They settled down here after clearing out some of the more hostile creatures to build a settlement but found that the nearly impossible journey through the forest could not be replicated and they had no way of building a sailing ship to return to . Fortunately, a portion of the iron mine extended into an area that ended up in the Feywild. This vein was used by a local gnomish settlement that had long ago been seperated from their homeland, Caretta. The gnomes gladly joined forces with the dwarves to defend these mines against monsters and more hostile neighbors. The expansion of the faction did not stop there, however. Indeed, the vast length of the veins made protecting most of the areas difficult if not impossible. A miner would often stumble along an area that had been inhabited by strange beasts or goblinoids and end up dead. This was not a friendly area. The Underforge, a name that came about from a story for another day, recruited several nearby kobold tribes that had never offered much harm. The skilled trappers of these tribes helped secure the veins and in return gained access to hard, iron weapons to protect themselves.
When the city began to be colonized once again, the group was energized and pleased. For, you see they had amassed a great collection of arms, armour and raw iron but had no one to sell to but a handful of factions that sometimes used those weapons against them. The Underforge were interested in joining Union after it began to coalesce, but were not interested in giving up sole possession of their mines and the high prices they had come to demand for iron in the region. Over the years, other races have wandered down into the mines and joined up with the Underforge.
Due to the mixed make-up of the faction, there exists a sort of triad government. There are three individual monarchies under one emperor.
Role of the Monarchs
The king is expected to handle matters of governance within his district of Svartálfaheimar. These districts are Morontire, the major dwarven district, Bloopild, the major kobold district, and Feinis, the major gnome district. Specific matters include dealing out punishments of those convicted of crimes beneath murder and treason, overseeing arguments between citizens and keeping the streets both clean and safe.
To Become a Monarch
Morontire’s kingship has always been a family affair and has rested within the hands of the Dvlinn family for generations. The eldest brother always becomes the heir to the throne, although in cases where the eldest dies the next eldest becomes king and so on. Unfortunately this causes most Dvlinn brothers to be fanatic about killing one another either to protect themselves or to gain kingship.
Bloopild’s matriarchial society has led to the choosing of a female queen since it was created. The queen is chosen by a council of nobles within the district.
Feinis’s monarchy is actually more of a presidency. The gnomish president becomes voted into position after gaining a majority vote. However, this position lasts until the president perishes. It should be noted that since it is based on vote the majority of these presidents is a gnome although there are two occasions when a human was chosen.
Role of Emperor
The Emperor is chosen by the three leaders of the city whenever the previous emperor passes away. The Emperor has the final say on all matters of state, diplomacy, foreign affairs, military and trade within Svartálfaheimar. He is expected to establish treaties with other factions, set up wars against the nearby Union and determine the nuances of major trades with the Savuy. He or she also keeps up the Code of Laws and determines the fate of murderers and traitors.
Since the Underforge has three major groups it is important to know that there are some aspects of each group that are different, however, over the years they have grown very similar in most areas.
The god of battle, Balatucairus is worshiped on the whole as the honorable god of war. The entire faction often goes to his temple within their underground fortress due to his association with honor and strength. The gnomes of Underforge worship not a god, but a spirit present in the Feywild as Oolonth, a great earth being. The kobolds worship Laris.
There are two major temples in Svartálfaheimar, one dedicated to Balatucairus and one dedicated to Laris. The temple to Balatucairus is called the Church of the Sweeping Hawk. This church is a low domed building within a large cavern and is a fairly simple affair. Stone pews offer seats for those to listen to the priest’s sermons while the walls are lined with coal fires and statues of Underforge leaders, heroes and priests. There are carvings of Balatucairus’s deeds and great battles on the walls. Most of these carvings are covered in gilt, elaborate silver and other precious metals. A giant statue of Balatucairus stands flanked by twin fires in the rear of the temple. This statue is made almost entirely of gold, silver and rubies. The statue depicts the god as a swarthy dwarven king with a crown and a golden beard. He still bears his traditional armor, cape, sword and shield.
Church of the Sweeping Hawk: The structured hierarchal system stations the clergy as specific, first rank, second rank, third rank, fourth rank and fifth rank priests or as acolytes if they are below priesthood. Associated with the church is a strong paladin order.
The gnomes have no organized priesthood with only a small handful of priests to various gods or spirits around at any one time.
Church of Light One: The kobolds depict Laris as a wise kobold elder with a small beard and white robes. His church is designed to emulate that of the one in the Holy Land of Karthin.
Svartálfaheimar is the name of the Underforge’s fortress-city beneath the ground. Inside the fortress lay the varied homes of its members. These homes are carved into the rock itself and often consist of no more than three or four rooms depending on the size of the family. Common decorations include elaborate rugs to cover the floor, tapestries for the walls of battles or religious ceremonies and idols to the occupant’s god.
Citi de Vellatoris: Since the kobold and gnome unity with the Underforge occurred on different days, this day was chosen to celebrate both. It falls on May 12th. On this day all three races hold a great celebration at the Emperor’s palace where food and drink are served to all who come. Musicians play numerous traditional songs from all three in addition to heralding songs of unity, peace and cooperation. Mock duels and other competitions occur on this day. It is also typical for the Rootball League to hold a competition between the three district’s top teams on this day.
The most important sport to Underforge members is Rootball. This sport began with the discovery that within the Feywild, Elder Oak roots often form thick balls that bounce when thrown or kicked. The sport involves kicking around an Elder Oak root, called a rootball, into a goal belonging to the opposing side. The game is often played between two opposing teams although occasional ‘battle royales’ call for multiple teams to be on the court at one time. Each district has its own division of the Rootball League and the top three compete against one another on Citi de Vellatoris.
Wizards in the Underforge have an important role. They serve as mystic advisors to the people in general with the head wizard called Arcanum Suel. There are currently fifteen wizards within the Fontin Arcanum all female. They take on apprentices only when the apprentice can show a strong willpower and pass several tests. While it is not outlawed for there to be male wizards, there have simply never been any interested in the trade for the past fifty years. There are legends told of the former Arcanum Suel Fredo Caercil who left the faction and has not been seen since. None know if he is dead or alive.