“Now, listen up. I ain’t repeatin’ this. The dwarven philosophy o’ war is t’ kill only the enemy an’ that he must ‘ave a glorious an’ honorable death. Ye kill an innocent an’ ye disgrace yerself. Ye defile yer fallen foe’s body an’ ye disgrace yerself. Ye raise yer fallen foe t’ a state o’ undeath an’ ye disgrace yerself. Ye mock yer foe after he’s fallen and ye disgrace yerself. But, me young dwarves, if ye be fightin’ ‘gainst some ogres, orcs, goblins, trolls, undead, most o’ th’ philosophy don’t apply. Ye gotta kill those bastards by any means necessary. Same goes fer most giants. Them ain’t naught more ‘n stretched-out dwarves. But I find any o’ ye defilin’ them ‘r bringin’ ‘em back as undead ‘r killin’ innocents, I’ll kill ye on th’ spot meself.”
-General Rigga Goldenaxebronzebeard explaining the philosophy of war to new members of Hammerstone Army
The dwarven art of war has long since been a force to be reckoned with. The dwarves, though fierce and passionate in battle, don’t rush headlong into it; if peace can be reached without shedding blood, that is better than laying waste to entire populations. Some dwarves, however, have an unquenchable taste for battle and hire themselves out as mercenaries if they aren’t currently involved with a dwarven war.
Fifty Years of Brutality
The only dwarven war to take place on both the surface and underground, the Fifty Years of Brutality took place from 530 to 580. The dwarves in the region had been harassed from time to time in the leading years by small bands of goblins, hobgoblins orcs, trolls, bugbears, ogres, and giants, but didn’t realize these were raiding parties sent to weaken them. In 530, the first organized full-scale attack was launched by the monstrous army. In 536, when he had come of age, Prince Tavern Hammerstone joined the Hammerstone Army and he rose to the rank of general by 549. In 554, King Skargard I and Queen Glorbek Hammerstone were killed when they were surrounded by trolls and fire giants and their son became the new king. Thirty years into the war, the dwarves wondered if they’d be able to win, so they began hasty construction on tunnels leading to Grazzet’s Pass in the likely event that they would have to flee. In 568, King Tavern was urged to marry by his advisors so he’d be able to leave an heir in the likely event of his death. He did his duty and returned to war. It was by this time, too, that the tunnels were completed; the dwarves were unhappy with the quality of them, but didn’t worry too much because they wanted to stay alive. In 580, King Tavern slayed the leader of the monstrous army, a fire giant named Tolo Firebeard, but not without loss: in the fight, he lost both of his arms, a leg, an eye, his nose, and his ears. Any remaining foes, demoralized, fled for their lives. Despite his injuries, he continued his rule until his death in 619. After the war ended, the dwarves spent thirteen more years finishing the tunnels.
Dwarf War the First
The seeds for the war were sown when King Anghred went looking for adventure 651. He returned to Hammerstone Keep while being pursued by three red dragons and a band of evil dwarves. The evil dwarves and two of the dragons escaped, but King Anghred wondered why other dwarves would be pursuing him, so he had them researched. During the process of research, there are a few scattered skirmishes with the evil dwarves and the dwarves of Brokenspire discover that dwarves are very hard to kill. They agreed that these evil dwarves were not proper dwarves and more or less abandoned their philosophy of war when fighting them. Prince Braun developed a combat maneuver called “the Beardcleaver” in 680 that would shame and humiliate the evil dwarves in front of the gods so that their treachery would not be welcomed into Lakskuwaller’s Beard. The move was taught to a handful of exceptionally skilled warriors.
In 685, the evil dwarves invaded Hammerstone Keep, but were eliminated fairly quickly. In 712, after some years of scattered skirmishes and no new knowledge being learned of the evil dwarves, emissaries were sent to Sejlahusk to see if they have had any similar incidents, and the emissaries return in 719. The Selja had some run-ins with dwarves in service to Pelptin and the parties reached the conclusion that these evil dwarves at Brokenspire must be, too.
By 790, the scattered skirmishes had increased and researches found many symbols of Pelptin adorning the dead evil dwarves. The patrols and watches were increased around the clans. Everything seemed to be going fine after that point. The skirmishes stopped and the evil dwarves seemingly vanished. However, in 863, King Bofras received word that the evil dwarves, now calling themselves Pelptin’s Warriors, were massing an army. He ordered intense training for all of his warriors. He sent word to Gruffinshome and Sejlahusk and they each responded by sending him 200 barrels of their finest ale and five warriors. Fortifications were made in the event of an attack. However, by 880, Pelptin’s Warriors still had not made their attack, but the dwarves didn’t let their guard down, which was good, because in 899, Pelptin’s Warriors made their first full-scale attack on some of the lesser clans surrounding Hammerstone Keep. Pelptin’s Warriors were defeated; those who didn’t retreat had their cloven heads and beards hung from pikes around the clans’ strongholds.
In 902, King Bofras received word that Pelptin’s Warriors were but a small fighting group of an upstart clan calling itself Clan Axesmasher. Preparations for war were made. In 910, a group of trolls raided a mithril mine and King Bofras suspected that Clan Axesmasher had something to do with it; he was ashamed that those who were supposed to be his kith and kin would be working with such vile creatures. That was the last attack on the dwarves for a while. King Bofras sent out parties to try to find Clan Axesmasher, but they didn’t find anything.
In 925 some gnomes arrived at Hammerstone Keep to show King Bofras and Queen Valgal a new invention of theirs: black powder. The king and queen were killed in the resulting explosion and in the same instant their son, Skargard II, became king, he took their heads off with his axe. He discovered that they were agents sent by Clan Axesmasher to assassinate the king and queen. He was outraged, but sent spies out to track down Clan Axesmasher.
A year later, his spies returned; they had successfully infiltrated the clan and discovered their location, secrets, and origins. King Skargard II and Queen Dardu gather their army and march to war. They found the dwarves of Clan Axesmasher to be fearsome opponents and in the fourth major battle, the Battle for Sand Mountain, the king and queen were killed. Since their son hadn’t yet come of age, Steward McGrath ruled in his stead and, not being seasoned in battle, he didn’t want to be responsible for any of the dwarves under his rule to die, so he hammered out an uneasy truce with Clan Axesmasher and the war came to an end.
Dwarf War the Second
In 1042, the Vanilli foster son of King Dûmrik, known as Bloody Greg, Son of Dwarves, fell in battle against a raiding party of orcs. King Dûmrik had a statue built of Bloody Greg and placed it in Hammerstone Keep. However, in 1067, King Dûmrik and Queen Olga became ghouls when a mass of undead infested the keep. By 1074, the infestation had been exterminated as a result of the necromancer controlling them being found and killed. It was discovered that this necromancer had been in the employ of Clan Axesmasher, but no other attacks followed.
In 1129, some dwarves of Clan Axesmasher successfully infiltrated Hammerstone Keep and stole the statue of Bloody Greg. King Odu decided that enough was enough and declared war. The Hammerstone Army pushed the battle all the way to Axesmasher Stronghold by 1130. King Odu and Queen Gilgal were slain in the battle, as well as their successors, King Anghred II and Queen Twella. As their son, Argal, hadn’t come of age yet, Steward Gristle ruled in his stead, but learning from Steward McGrath’s past mistakes, didn’t allow the war to end; he handed off all military duties to General Grizz Werrik, acting head of the Hammerstone Army. Werrik was able to defeat Clan Axesmasher by 1156, but allowed the remaining members to live under the condition that they apply for official clanship and abide the laws of Brokenspire Mountain. Clan Axesmasher consented, thus ending the war.
Dwarf War the Third
By 1297, Clan Axesmasher rebuilt itself enough to apply for clanship. They filled out the necessary paperwork and Clan Hammerstone dispatched crews to help them rebuild and to keep an eye on them.
However, in 1312, the name of Pelptin’s Warriors once again resurfaced as the group assassinated the Hammerstones residing with them. They had recruited allies in the form of ogres, trolls, gobloid, orkoids, and undead. This army, quite large, assaulted Hammerstone Keep and managed to kill King Anghred III and Queen Wergal. The new King Roth found that his strength wasn’t enough to repel the invaders, so he sent for aid from the gnomes of Crumblesbrook, who sent their best to aid the dwarves.
By 1333, the gnomes and dwarves had all but obliterated Clan Axesmasher and the war officially came to an end. The gnomes wanted to execute the remaining members of the clan, but the dwarves, stubborn and proud, did not consent, as they felt that those members could forsake their ways and become “proper dwarves.” The gnomes begrudgingly consented, under the condition that they too were allowed to monitor the remaining members.
In 1346, the few remaining members of Clan Axesmasher made a futile effort at an uprising against the dwarves and gnomes. Clan Axesmasher ceased to exist.
| Major Wars | Prank War | Reach Cleansing | First Elf War | Conflict of the Trinities | Second Elf War | Fifty Years of Brutality | Schism of the Three | Simoom War | First Dwarf War | Second Dwarf War | Tumish War | Third Dwarf War |