Commonly known as “The Dwarfholds,” this extensive mountain range is actually home to three distinct dwarven kingdoms. The mountains themselves are quite extensive, ranging over 400 miles north to south and east to west. Agaddrum, the most powerful of the three kingdoms, lies in the middle of the range. The heart of Aagaddrum sits under Mount Vulcan, visible from the very edges of the range as the tallest peak in the land (estimated to stand at over 20,000 feet). The weight of Mt. Vulcan has produced a veritable treasure-trove of gems (especially amethysts, sapphires, and emeralds) and precious metals (particularly platinum) underneath, which the dwarves of Agaddrum have been harvesting for centuries. The other two kingdoms – Dundalkiir to the northeast and Grazgaduum to the south – mine their own sources of gems and precious metals. Dundalkiir is especially known for its gold and ruby production while Grazgaduum has valuable copper and silver deposits, as well as the occasional veins of mithral and bloodstones.
The three kingdoms have been on friendly terms for all of dwarven living memory (~300 years), though there have been wars between them in the past. The bloodiest war of recent memory were the Throne Wars of 1112-1116 CR. The Throne Wars began when Dundalkiir made an attempt to seize the throne of Agaddrum after the death of King Guralgar Rockbreaker. Guralgar’s two sons, Yerin and Barunig, both died during early adulthood, leaving no clear heir to the throne. Grazgaduum allied with Agaddrum to prevent the expansion of Dundalkiir, but after checking the armies of Dundalkiir, Grazgaduum itself attacked Agaddrum to put its own candidate on the throne. The noble family Gamalkar of Agaddrum took a leading role in the war and its patriach – Baldur Gamalkar – became the new king of Agaddrum in 1116. The Gamalkar line has continued unbroken until the present day, with Balgrim Gamalkar III being the current reigning king.
After the end of the Throne Wars, relations between the three kingdoms slowly normalized. At present, they share a division of labour concerning mining operations, and relatively strict guild and family relations keep the dwarven kingdoms as stable as the stone they inhabit. The kingdoms themselves are connected through a series of great underground highways. Most dwarves never see the surface unless they take a special interest. The exact number of dwarves in the three kingdoms, as well as the extent of the underground roads, is unknown to virtually all outsiders. The main enemies of the dwarves are the inhabitants of the Deep Realms, such as the dark dwarves, elves, and gnomes who inhabit the unspeakable depths of the world.
Each kingdom has a number of well-guarded gates to the surface world via which trade is conducted. Many caravans travel to the dwarven gates to trade, including some that take their wares on ships across the sea. While some of the more trusted traders (such trust often taking most of a human lifetime) are allowed entrance to the most shallow levels of the dwarf realms, most outsiders are made to wait outside the gates for their wares. Most dwarves in the wider world are those fed-up with the strict structure of life underground who have left in search of a different life. Dwarves are often prized as smiths, gem cutters, and soldiers. The dwarven realms are on very good terms with the gnomes that inhabit the foothills surrounding The Dwarfholds. The gnomes often exchange technological inventions and agricultural products with the dwarves for metals, gems, and protection. Together, the dwarves and gnomes of The Greater Dwarfholds (as the mountains and surrounding foothills are widely known, to the mild displeasure of the gnomes) form what seems to be the strongest political force in Khalathor. Luckily, they seem to have no intentions on marching on the surrounding lands in a war of conquest, although more distrustful humans maintain that this possibility is enough to attempt to undermine dwarf-gnome relations and flourishing whenever possible.