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    Canonfire :: View topic - Help me with Dwarven Clans around Irongate
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    Help me with Dwarven Clans around Irongate
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    Apprentice Greytalker

    Joined: Apr 18, 2005
    Posts: 80
    From: Adelaide, South Australia

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    Thu Jul 05, 2012 5:25 pm  
    Help me with Dwarven Clans around Irongate

    Some advice or input needed. I have a campaign based around Irongate and the Iron Hills. I am trying to flesh out the dwarves a bit.

    From the fragments (including the Irongate Dragon Mag article) this is what I have pieced together so far:

    The major dwarven clan in Irongate is 'Grummild'. The major Iron Hills dwarven clan is Dorgrimm. There was an implication they dont get along sometimes?

    There are other clans as well, but no names in canon material - apart from the Khul-Ak clan, which is regarded as an ancient clan.

    I would like you thoughts on the following, numbered for ease of reference:

    1. What is the nature of the relationship between Irongate and Iron Hills dwarves? Friends, mostly friendly with the odd feud?

    2. Are the Irongate dwarves vassals of King Holgi? Are they beholden to him or is there loyalty strictly to their clan leader?

    3. How many clans are their in Irongate? How many in the Iron Hills? I currently have 7 clans, which three of those being considered ancient clans (the oldest, but no longer the most influential).

    4. If there are multiple clans in Irongate, each with a clan leader, who 'leads' the Irongate dwarves overall?

    5. How are dwarves represented in the Council of Wardens in Irongate? Who represents the dwarves on the council?

    The Iron Hills is a little easier having King Holgi as leader. So I have a few clans there each with clan elders who form a council advising King Holgi.

    I have each clan as being noted for some particular strength or trade, but not making it exclusive to that clan. Some specialise in trade, mining, banking, diplomacy etc but each clan has its own people who can do this stuff. Some 'dwarf' books content that some skills are exclusive to a clan but I can't see how that can work at all.

    Anywhere, if you have any thoughts on dwarf clans in general, or anything specific to Irongate and the Iron Hills, perhaps some thoughts on what you would do, I'd love to hear it.
    GreySage

    Joined: Aug 03, 2001
    Posts: 3153
    From: Michigan

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    Thu Jul 05, 2012 6:53 pm  

    Greyhawk Adventures mentions Clan Highforge (page 91).

    Probably the Irongate dwarves consider Cobb Darg to be their civic leader, just like everyone else in Irongate, though they may consider Holgi to be their king.

    Sources vary as to whether the dwur of Irongate are of the hill or mountain sort; probably there are both hill and mountain clans involved.

    The Dorgrimms are the rulers of the Kingdom of the Iron Hills, and probably look to Holgi as their king and master. Most of the dwur of Irongate are Grummilds, and probably don't.

    Everyone in a clan can have the same occupation because a clan is an extended family (and also functionally a guild in traditional dwarven society), not an independent nation-state. They don't need to have dwarves with other careers in their clan because dwarves from other clans live right next door and can handle the other stuff. If the Grummilds and Dorgrimms are rivals, they may have the same occupation. But of course you don't need to play it that way if you don't prefer it. The fewer clans there are in Irongate, the more each will have to diversify, career-wise. If Irongate mostly only has the Grummilds and Highforges, there may be no real association between clan and guild at all. Maybe the dwarves of Irongate belong to the same guilds that humans do, and completely divorce the concepts of clan and guild from one another.

    I assume the Council of Wardens are selected by ward, rather than by race. If all the dwarves live in the same ward, the Warden of that ward would represent all the dwarves. Otherwise, they'd look to whatever Warden represents the ward they live in.
    Apprentice Greytalker

    Joined: Apr 18, 2005
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    Fri Jul 06, 2012 12:30 am  

    Thanks I forgot that Highforge reference.

    My take is that Irongate dwarves consider Cobb Darg their civic leader. I could make the warden of the Forge Ward the dwarven rep, but I'm not sure I like that. It is possible they don't need one, or that perhaps one of the clerics on the council is a cleric of Moradin.

    The reason I personally have trouble with the one-profession clan concept is there don't appear to be that many clans, hence my feeling they have to have diversity.

    As for hill versus mountain, I'm something of a heretic - IMC they are all dwarves, with the only difference being outlook and experience. Dwarves who spend more time on the surface or mixing in cities are a little more open, friendly and tolerant. Dwarves who spend all of their time under the mountains with only their kin may be less worldly and less tolerant of humans etc.

    Thanks for your input Rasgon, you've got me thinking.
    GreySage

    Joined: Sep 09, 2009
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    From: SW WA state (Highvale)

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    Fri Jul 06, 2012 9:42 am  

    Not sure if this helps or not, but does The Living Greyhawk Gazeteer expand on the Iron Hills or Iron Gate any on this matter? I don't have my book handy...

    -Lanthorn
    CF Admin

    Joined: Jul 28, 2001
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    Wed Jul 11, 2012 6:47 pm  

    In an old 2e Greyhawk Wars era campaign, we developed a bit around the dwur of the Cairn Hills and Abbor-Alz -- two holds in particular, one hill and the other mountain -- for a couple characters' backgrounds. Hence, my answers will derive mostly from memories about that development, plus my knowledge of the common law of property in the U.S. (which I teach).

    Quote:
    1. What is the nature of the relationship between Irongate and Iron Hills dwarves? Friends, mostly friendly with the odd feud?

    My understanding is that the dwur of the Iron Hills and Irongate are strong allies. Of course there may be some ancestral or particular feuds, rivalries, etc., and I suspect that there may be some disdain a la traditionalism versus cosmopolitanism, but these should be relatively subtle, cultural differences -- probably unknown (difficult to know) for non-dwur, unless they're locally politically savvy.

    Quote:
    2. Are the Irongate dwarves vassals of King Holgi? Are they beholden to him or is there loyalty strictly to their clan leader?

    If you mean vassals technically, then I'd say no: at some point in the past Irongate's territory was disassociated from that of Holgi's kingdom (and his predecessor kings). Hence, the dwur of Irongate are not mesne lords or otherwise dependent on Holgi for title to their real property.

    It raises an interesting question regarding as to who chartered Irongate. In my understanding, this would derive from the Overking or his vassal in South Province, so it's likely that an ancient treaty (or conquest) ceded the territory of Irongate to the Overking or his vassal. If so, this comports with what I've suggested below, viz. Irongate dwur are not generally vassals to King Holgi. (Of course a particular dwur might well be Holgi's vassal, or be of a clan that retains holdings that owe their title ultimately to that king.)

    Quote:
    3. How many clans are their in Irongate? How many in the Iron Hills? I currently have 7 clans, which three of those being considered ancient clans (the oldest, but no longer the most influential).

    Lacking my books (in storage across the country), I have no canon-based suggestion to offer, but your question makes me ask if you know how many dwur are in Irongate and the Iron Hills. If the figures are in the thousands, then I'd tend to go for more clans -- maybe seven in total that are active today in the Iron Hills. In Irongate I'd probably go for only one or maybe two (three at the most) since this clan or these clans would have formed from those dwur whose holdings were in the territory that ultimately became associated with Irongate, or from those dwur who expatriated from the kingdom of the Iron Hills to become subjects of the Overking (through his vassals in the South Province).

    Quote:
    4. If there are multiple clans in Irongate, each with a clan leader, who 'leads' the Irongate dwarves overall?

    If there are multiple Irongate dwur clans, then they might lack an overall leader, instead having only the possibility of consensus amongst the clan leaders, which would fail from time to time, being experienced (and remembered) as times of strife and hence possibly fueling feuds, etc.

    I could see the clan leaders having their own council, but ultimately as dwur who've expatriated from the Iron Hills kingdom to become subject to the Overking, South Province, and ultimately the independent Irongate of the Iron League, it would seem they've become subject to Cobb Darg.

    Quote:
    5. How are dwarves represented in the Council of Wardens in Irongate? Who represents the dwarves on the council?

    I agree with rasgon's take on it. In addition to being represented by their particular ward Warden, there could be an advisory dwur Warden with actual, tie-breaking, or merely symbolic / ritual authority.

    PS - Great questions. Hope the above is helpful.
    Apprentice Greytalker

    Joined: Apr 18, 2005
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    Fri Jul 13, 2012 3:36 am  

    Quote:
    My understanding is that the dwur of the Iron Hills and Irongate are strong allies. Of course there may be some ancestral or particular feuds, rivalries, etc., and I suspect that there may be some disdain a la traditionalism versus cosmopolitanism, but these should be relatively subtle, cultural differences -- probably unknown (difficult to know) for non-dwur, unless they're locally politically savvy.


    Yep, I tend to agree with this. The variability of whether a particular group of Irongate dwarves and Iron Hills dwarves would get along keeps things interesting. As a whole, especially in times of war or duress, I would see that putting issues aside to fight as strong allies.

    Quote:
    If you mean vassals technically, then I'd say no: at some point in the past Irongate's territory was disassociated from that of Holgi's kingdom (and his predecessor kings). Hence, the dwur of Irongate are not mesne lords or otherwise dependent on Holgi for title to their real property.


    Agrees with my current thinking.

    Quote:
    I have no canon-based suggestion to offer, but your question makes me ask if you know how many dwur are in Irongate and the Iron Hills. If the figures are in the thousands, then I'd tend to go for more clans -- maybe seven in total that are active today in the Iron Hills.


    I've asked that questions previously on the boards. I think the consensus was around 26000. In fact I think there is anaboscure canon reference (in a greyhawk book) that suggested how many dwarves might live there. So it would seem to support a good few clans, maybe 10-12?

    Quote:
    If there are multiple Irongate dwur clans, then they might lack an overall leader, instead having only the possibility of consensus amongst the clan leaders, which would fail from time to time, being experienced (and remembered) as times of strife and hence possibly fueling feuds, etc.


    Yep I'm leaning to there being three-ish clan leaders in Irongate who generally try to vote on any issues. With a high cleric of Moradin helping to act as advisor and impartial facilitator on inter-clan issues.

    Quote:
    I could see the clan leaders having their own council, but ultimately as dwur who've expatriated from the Iron Hills kingdom to become subject to the Overking, South Province, and ultimately the independent Irongate of the Iron League, it would seem they've become subject to Cobb Darg.


    Yep, I think subject ultimately to the city mayor as well. So Irongate dwavres are ultimately beholden to Coob Darg and Iron Hills dwur to King Holgi.

    Quote:
    5. How are dwarves represented in the Council of Wardens in Irongate? Who represents the dwarves on the council?
    I agree with rasgon's take on it. In addition to being represented by their particular ward Warden, there could be an advisory dwur Warden with actual, tie-breaking, or merely symbolic / ritual authority.

    PS - Great questions. Hope the above is helpful.


    Absolutel it was helpful. I'm all by myself in developing this so it is very valuable to have you guys provide comments and thoughts on this. Cheers.
    Grandmaster Greytalker

    Joined: Jul 09, 2003
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    Fri Jul 13, 2012 11:03 am  

    mtg wrote:
    Quote:
    1. What is the nature of the relationship between Irongate and Iron Hills dwarves? Friends, mostly friendly with the odd feud?

    My understanding is that the dwur of the Iron Hills and Irongate are strong allies. Of course there may be some ancestral or particular feuds, rivalries, etc., and I suspect that there may be some disdain a la traditionalism versus cosmopolitanism, but these should be relatively subtle, cultural differences -- probably unknown (difficult to know) for non-dwur, unless they're locally politically savvy...


    -IIRC, the Dragon article on Irongate (351?) mentions a Dwarven weaponsmith who was originally from the Iron Hills but was living in Irongate because he was a "dissident" (or something like that). That would imply:

    1) That not all Dwarves in the Iron Hills and Irongate get along;

    2) That King Holgi and the Iron Hills have little legal pull in Irongate. FWIW.
    Sage of Canonfire

    Joined: Jun 28, 2001
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    Fri Jul 13, 2012 3:06 pm  

    Hey guys, good thread.

    I thought perhaps I could share some of the assumptions that went into the Irongate entry in the LGG and the Dragon article.

    As the Kingdom of Aerdy grew and expanded from its foundational core east of the River Mikar, it was forced to contend with Suel, Light Flan, and Demihumans to the south and later Dark Flan and Barbarians to the north. Its migratory wake to the west was increasingly encroached by the Nyrondese Oerid.

    Focusing first on the south, the Aerdi were deft in their dealings with the demihumans they encountered and so an alliance was struck with the dwarves of the Iron Hills. It has always been and continues to be an independent kingdom of the dwur, even during the height of the Great Kingdom. Its lord is one of seven original dwarven royal houses (the “Dwarvish Lords” of Axe-fame) who guards his sovereignty jealously. While there are many dwarven clans in the Flanaess, only 6 can claim to be descended from the legendary ones (the seventh was presumed destroyed in the Sulhauts during the Twin Cataclysms.) All others are offshoots or later establishments.

    Centuries ago, before this alliance was struck, the Iron Hills dwarves were bordered by Light Flan (largely in the successor states of the Kingdom of Ehlissa/Ahlissa), late migrant Suel, include the House of Zelrad (late migrants), and a vast number of ignoble or degenerated first comer Suel groups. The Aerdi were able to forge an alliance with the first two against the latter.

    The City of Irongate was established to protect the area as well as provide a center for trade and economic activity, initially dominated by mining and metalwork. Large numbers of dwarves migrated from the Pomarj in various waves to Onnwal and Irongate (some only recently in the wake of the Fall of Highport). Those dwarves make up a significant amount of the dwarven population of Irongate. In all, there may be over a dozen clan-groups of 100+ dwarves in the city that are not from the Iron Hills or surrounding area. The largest has its origins in the Ulek States and they oh no special fealty to the King of the Iron Hills outside of the alliance.

    When the south went into rebellion during the Turmoil Between Crowns, the Kingdom of the Iron Hills joined the Iron League as one of its founding members. So Irongate and the KotIH are peers in that alliance. Cobb Darg and the Dwarven King are equal members and are pledged to each other’s protection. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t localized enmities or rivalries between dwarven clans, especially any who might have migrated from elsewhere.
    CF Admin

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    Wed Jul 18, 2012 12:31 pm  

    Thanks Gary, that's very helpful. (By the way, hi! Long time no chat.)

    Phalastar, going through my old computer files, I came across the The Free State of Onnwal: The Players Guide of Living Greyhawk UK, which you might find useful, particularly its second chapter on the history of the Dragonshead Peninsula, the Headlands, etc.

    Also, I particularly like PSmedger's ideas that:
    Quote:
    Large numbers of dwarves migrated from the Pomarj in various waves to Onnwal and Irongate (some only recently in the wake of the Fall of Highport). Those dwarves make up a significant amount of the dwarven population of Irongate. In all, there may be over a dozen clan-groups of 100+ dwarves in the city that are not from the Iron Hills or surrounding area. The largest has its origins in the Ulek States and they oh no special fealty to the King of the Iron Hills outside of the alliance.

    In past campaigns, having a handful of major dwur clans, and sundry minor clans has worked well. (I was using Dumadan of the Abbo-Alz and Karakast of the Cairn Hills.) This would also allow you to deal with the issue of whether a clan must do everything. Your major clans could specialize in their particular crafts or trades, and you can abstract their local / regional political economy by virtue of the minor clans.
    Apprentice Greytalker

    Joined: Apr 18, 2005
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    Sun Jul 22, 2012 4:27 am  

    Thanks guys that helps a bunch. I'll see if I cna find that player's guide - sounds like some of the information would be very handy!
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