Icons Great Clans

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The Great Clans
"Remember our Legacy. We are the inheritors of ancient honor and devotion to our people."
The GuildsThe Pastoral SaintedThe Sea Lords
The GrinnirThe Queen of Frost • The Vundilan
Token Benefits
Mercy of the Urram Athair (2 tokens + quest) • Retainer's Quarters (1-4 tokens per year) • The Runehall Archives (2 tokens) • Troop Allotment (3 tokens + quest) • Clan-Specific Assistance (varies)

Though they were once the rulers of dwarvenkind, the days of kings and crowns is past. Still, the Urram Athair grant their lineages power and blessings, and while the wealth and prestige of the Great Clans may have tarnished with time, they still have plenty of both.

[edit] Usual Location

The Great Clans all maintain clanholds within Hammer Peak, and most also have other holdings in Caers Stormhold and Goldhelm, as well as some above-ground structures in the Vale itself. The Clanmoot elders all hold council in Hammer Peak proper.

[edit] Allies

  • Though the Guilds and the Great Clans are allies outwardly, friction has existed between them for many dwarven generations. This friction has only increased with the assumption of governance by the Guilds, seizing it by bloodless coup from the Great Clans. Despite this, they do still work together to improve life in the citadels and the Vale, and many of the personal friendships between individuals of both groups are warm and real.
  • Though many dwarves do not properly understand human spirituality, the Great Clans have long supported the Pastoral Sainted for the care they give to their people, as well as the lands that feeds hammer and anvil alike.
  • Though the power of the Great Clans has waned significantly, they have long memories and maintain active alliances with the Sea Lords still. In many ways, nobility regardless of culture understand one another better than they do anyone else.

[edit] Enemies

  • For some reason, the old and strange Grinnir of the Grinnirwood and the Great Clans have cause to dislike one another, likely leading to the original settlement of the Vale, when the Grinnirwood almost filled the cradle itself, and the Great Clans strove with fire and steel to clear it and make it habitable for settlers.
  • For many a year, the caprices of the Queen of Frost were a source of great aggravation for the Great Clans. While her diplomats no longer need engage with the old dwarven nobility, old enmities die hard among dwarvenkind.
  • It is enough for the Great Clans that the Urram Athair speak out against the horror of the Vundilan. They have vowed to stymie and destroy it, in time.

[edit] Great Clans Token Benefits

  • Mercy of the Urram Athair (2 tokens + quest): The clerics of the Great Clans can be persuaded to aid those who have completed sanctified tasks on behalf of the Revered Ancestors.
    • Once completed, this allows the character to spend tokens to gain clerical spellcasting for himself and his group. Cantrips and 1st level spells cost 1 token, 2nd and 3rd level spells cost 2 tokens, and 4th and 5th level spells cost 3 tokens. Expensive material components must be provided, or may be covered by the clerics by spending one additional token.
  • Retainer's Quarters (1-4 tokens per year): Those who serve the Great Clans may well be supported as a proper, traditional retainer, the living arrangements and food requirements met by their patrons. Poor lifestyle costs 1 token, Moderate lifestyle costs 2 tokens, and Comfortable lifestyle costs 4 tokens.
  • The Runehall Archives: Those who have accomplished tasks on behalf of the Great Clans may be granted limited access to the Runehall Archives, what may very well be the most ancient archives in the world, a source of great lore and history. Those who are given access may use any of the following effects:
    • Researchers: Gain use of the Research downtime action without taking that action: 1 token per week, check is made at a +7.
    • Lore: Gain spell formula or magical item schema from the archives immediately.
      • Common items and up to 1st level spells cost 1 token.
      • Uncommon items and up to 3rd level spells cost 2 tokens.
      • Rare items and up to 5th level spells cost 4 tokens.
      • Very Rare items and up to 7th level spells cost 6 tokens.
  • Troop Allotment: Those trusted for their military acumen and willingness to bleed for the Great Clans can sometimes be allotted troops for their own uses, so long as those uses are lawful and to the benefit of the citadels as a whole. Those who are given access may gain the following assistance (though abuse of this – particularly if they don't come back – can result in the loss of this benefit):
    • Light Infantry: Gain the use of two light infantry per token, to a maximum of ten soldiers.
    • Heavy Infantry: Gain the use of one heavy infantry per token, to a maximum of six soldiers.
    • Ram-Rider Cavalry: Gain the use of one ram-rider per token, to a maximum of four soldiers and their mounts.
    • Mountaineer Scouts: Gain the use of one scout per token, to a maximum of three soldiers.
    • Battlefield Medics: Gain the use of one medic per 2 tokens, to a maximum of two soldiers.
    • Runethanes: Gain the use of one apprentice runethane for 1 token, one journeyman runethane for 3 tokens, and one master runethane for 6 tokens. Maximum of one runethane at any given time.
    • War Alchemists: Gain the use of one war alchemist per token, to maximum of two war alchemists.
    • Battle-Ragers: Gain the use of one battle-rager for 3 tokens, to a maximum of one battle-rager.
    • Clanguard: Gain the use of one clanguard per 2 tokens, to a maximum of four clanguard.
    • Black Shield: Gain the use of one apprentice Black Shield for 1 token, or one shieldbearer for 3 tokens. Maximum of one at any given time.
  • Clan-Specific Assistance (varies): Different clans have different strengths and resources they can bring to bear on behalf of their allies and retainers.

[edit] The Great Clans

These are the clans of the modern Vale, who yet maintain old traditions of the dwarven clans largely considered irrelevant in today's dwarven society, which has evolved beyond ruling power being held by those with military might.

[edit] The Mountain Dwarf Clans

  • Clan Bronzemask: Bronze Half Mask. One of the major military clans, the Bronzemasks maintain extensive infantry, as well as a small number of ram cavalry. Bronzemasks have a reputation as being particularly warlike themselves, fond of fighting in both their friendships and enmities. In the citadels today, the Guilds look poorly on such "ruffianism," and magistrates do not hesitate to make examples of Bronzemask scions.
  • Clan Firepoint: Burning Needle. Once, the Firepoints did two things: they arranged marriages, and they cared for bairns. Though the old milkhalls – communal places where new mothers went to live after they gave birth, working through learning or re-learning motherhood while surrounded by other mothers and skilled nurses – are gone, everyone remembers Firepoints as the foremost when it came to dwarven fertility. To this day, midwives who can claim to have had a Firepoint mentor or sponsor are still highly trusted and preferred. Clan Firepoint's military is largely light infantry, and battlefield medics.
  • Clan Gempeak: Gemstone in a Mountain. A clan that owns easily half of the Vale's gem mines, the Gempeaks are one of the few clans whose wealth has not been negatively impacted by the transition to the Guildsrule. The Gempeaks are a reclusive clan, rumored to have spent much of their family's wealth over the generations on secrets about the other clans. More than a few Gempeaks are also runethanes. Clan Gempeak fields heavy infantry as well as artillery engineers and war alchemists.
  • Clan Glimmerdirk: Jeweled Dagger, Point Down. Even in the days when each of Great Clans acted as their own banks, the Glimmerdirks were known for their investment acumen and for the security of their vaults. It is thus no surprise that the Glimmerdirks are heavy investors in Guild Banks, with many of their scions seeking training with the Guild of Coinwrights as a means of doing so. The Glimmerdirks may arguably be one of the clans that is actually better off than they were before the Guildsrule. Though they once fielded light infantry, the only Glimmerdirk troops these days are their Clanguard.
  • Clan Ramspur: Ram Skull. The cavalry-Clan of the Hammer Peak dwarves, the Ramspurs field the majority of the ram-riders that defend the citadels and Vale. Most Ramspur dwarves are themselves trained to ride and tend the war-rams of the clan, and they are fond of affixing ram horns to their helms (a trait shared by many ram-riders).
  • Clan Silverbeard: Crossed Silver Battleaxes. Considered to be the greatest warriors of dwarf-kind, the Silverbeards are a proud military clan whose blood buys the freedom and safety of dwarrowfolk and Valefolk alike. The Silverbeards were also the last of the Great Clans to accede to the Guildsrule, and it still clearly sits poorly with them – no surprise, given that their claim to the Throne was probably the surest, according to the historians and geneaologists of the Runehall. Clan Silverbeard probably produces more battle-ragers than any other clan, for one simple reason: they offer clan membership to any rager who comes to them seeking training into the ancient traditions of the mad axemen.
  • Clan Steelcoin: Steel Coin. An off-shoot clan from the Glimmerdirks, Clan Steelcoin are often considered upstarts and shifty sorts by the other Great Clans. Like their originating clan, they are bankers, but they do a bit more with their coin than their cousins. Indeed, the Steelcoins are notorious for their gambling dens and for investing in shifty or questionable enterprises. Still, they do turn their coin to good benefit, fielding both light and heavy infantry.
  • Clan Thunderwall: Mace and Shield. A Great House found largely in Caer Stormhold, the Thunderwalls are reclusive and antagonistic, with little love for the Guildsrule and its changes to dwarven society. Indeed, they have been known to cast out on their asses messengers and representatives from the Guilds who show up to their doors, and two Thunderwall scions who dared to join the Guilds have been treated to the most horrifying of punishments in dwarven culture: disownment. The Thunderwalls maintain a small ram-rider cavalry and some light infantry, but field a formidable force of heavy infantry with massive shields.

[edit] The Hill Dwarf Clans

  • Clan Brightmantle: Open Book. A clan of scholars, historians, and lore-seekers, the Brightmantles have produced more than a few runethanes over the years. More than that, however, it was the Brightmantles who set up the old dwarven system of schooling, the gliocas system. Though now abandoned for the Guild-schools, the Brightmantles claim that the old system did more than create productive little workers: it exposed dwarven minds to wide concepts and expanded critical thought, a trait they claim is very lacking in dwarvenfolk these days. The Brightmantles have no real military to speak of, save their own Clanguard, although they do maintain the arts for the creation of construct-artillery, specially enchanted war weapons capable of moving under their own power onto the field of battle.
  • Clan Merrycask: Beer Stein. Once, the Clans depended on the logistics and planning of the Merrycasks for all public festivals, and they oversaw the maintenance, upkeep, and provisioning of the public alevaults of the citadels, ensuring the people had enough to survive. With the establishment of the Guild of Brewers, the Merrycasks have lost a great deal of their livelihood and are now one of the poorer of the Great Clans. Their Clanhold is a dismal, poorly-maintained place and it is hard to believe that they were ever once the purveyors of joy for the dwarrow-folk. Clan Merrycask maintains heavy infantry, primarily to guard the provision trains they oversee for times of war.
  • Clan Truesilver: Intertwined Silver Rings. Once dedicated to acting as mediators and judges, the Truesilvers still number the greatest among the Great Clans of Guildmoot-appointed magistrates in the modern dwarven culture. This is unsurprising, given that one of the greatest treasures of Clan Truesilver are the vast library of laws and judgments that seem to stretch back to the very founding of the dwarven peoples! Clan Truesilver maintains very little military, save for their Ring Guard, a force of light infantry who guard the passages to the living spaces of a citadel, and are the last line of defense before enemies might find the citizenry.
  • Clan Woldpike: Spear Against a Tree. Another new Great Clan, the Woldpikes are very comfortable outside of the citadels. Indeed, they seem to have stolen a march on the Guildsmoot in that regard, heavily investing in agriculture and lumber. Their military contributions are also seen as odd: an elite tradition of mountaineers and scouts, capable of sneaking past enemy lines and harassing them with guerilla tactics. Woldpikes also produce quite a few battle-ragers.

[edit] The Lost High Clans

These clans have been lost to history, some to exile, some to tragedy, some to war, and some simply to the ravages of dwarven infertility.

  • Clan Forgecrown (Mountain): Hammer and Anvil. Tragedy marks the history of the Forgecrowns, the royal clan of Hammer Peak. When the last of its kings died without issue, the chaos that ensued as each of the Great Clans scurried to demonstrate their own best fitness to rule and purity of blood for inheritance is what undid the Clanrule of old. In that chaos, tempers flared and it was the Low Clans and Clanless that suffered. Into this, the Guilds stepped up to cry for peace and good governance once more, and led a largely bloodless coup against the Great Clans. Their Clanhold is now occupied by the Guildmoot.
  • Clan Brightaxe (Hill): Upright Sword, Blade Sheathed in Flame. The most military-focused on the hill dwarf Great Clans, the Brightaxes refused to be part of the Guildrule, considering it a violation of ancient dwarven traditions, and an insult to the Urram Athair. With that, they gathered their folk and their goods, and departed down the Sea Road, promising to send word back to the other Great Clans when they'd found a home where they might re-establish a proper dwarven society once more. Their hold was given over to Clan Woldpike.
  • Clan Runewright (Mountain): Rune-Carved Plinth. Once one of the foremost Great Clans in the practice of magic, and the tradition of the runethanes in particular, the Runewrights refused to accede to the authority of the Guildrule. They gathered their goods and left rather than be ruled by "merchants and coin-mongers." Unlike the Brightaxes, they did not depart down the Sea Road, but instead one morning their Clanhold was simply empty of folk, beast, and possession entirely. Their Clanhold was given over to Clan Steelcoin.
  • Clan Greystone (Unknown): Broken Arrow. The Greystones occupy an apocryphal place in dwarven culture, their banishment from the citadels more a matter of folklore than recorded history. Still, their treachery against the Forgecrown royal clan earned them a banishment not into the world above, but into the depts of the Underdark, and served as a stern warning to traitors.

[edit] Associated Groups

  • Clanguard: Each Great Clan maintains a clanguard, a force of fighters intended to defend the clan and its clanhold. Each Great Clan has its own preferences for the fighters and their equipment, and all clanguard wear very distinctive gear and armor, usually surmounted with a tabard with the clan's symbol blazoned on it.
  • Citadel Forces: The military forces which keep peace in the citadels (and to a lesser extent, the Vale) are largely divided into the following groups, with the following patrons.
    • Light Infantry: The citadel's light infantry wears helms and breastplates, and carry shield, battleaxe, and light crossbow. (Bronzemask, Firepoint, Silverbeard, Steelcoin, Thunderwall, Truesilver)
    • Heavy Infantry: The citadel's heavy infantry wears helms and splint armor, and carry either battleaxes and shields, or greataxes. (Bronzemask, Gempeak, Silverbeard, Steelcoin, Thunderwall, Merrycask)
    • Ram-Rider Cavalry: The citadel's ram-rider cavalry wear breastplates, and their mounts bear scale barding. The riders wield lances, shields, and battleaxes, with a light crossbow to hand if needful. (Bronzemask, Ramspur, Thunderwall)
    • Mountaineer Scouts: The mountaineer scouts wear studded leather, with heavy crossbows and double handaxes. (Woldpike)
    • Artillery Engineers: The artillery engineers wear studded leather, with light crossbows, short swords, and shields. (Gempeak)
    • Battlefield Medics: The battlefield medics of Clan Firepoint wear chain shirts, bearing with them shields and maces, as well as healer's kits and potions. (Firepoint)
    • Runethanes: The mighty runethanes are armored in half plate if they are mountain dwarves, or in the protections of spells otherwise, and all wield runehammers, simple magical warhammers that function as arcane focuses. (Gempeak, Brightmantle)
    • War Alchemists: The Gempeak war alchemists are usually sent into battle with chain shirts and bandoliers of grenades, armed with shields, slings, and maces. (Gempeak)
    • Battle-Ragers: Battle-ragers wade into battle with their traditional armaments: the terrifying spiked armor of their heritage, and mighty greataxes. (Silverbeard, Woldpike)
    • Construct Artillery: These enchanted constructs are artillery that has been enchanted to allow them to move themselves. They are still accompanied by a group of four artillery engineers, however. (Brightmantle)
  • The Black Shield: An order of dwarven hunters and warriors dedicated to protecting the Deep Gates, those great sealed gates between the Underroads and the Underdark. They battle the threats to the dwarven citadels in the dark places beneath the earth. Patrons: All the Great Clans.
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