The Stonehelm Clan

The Stonehelms
The guardians of the eastern Warkore mountains are the Stonehelm Clan -- a sub clan of the Warkore Clan. The Stonehelms are a rather unusual clan of three thousand deep dwarves. The clan has a strange affinity for the rumors surrounding their 'strangeness', and has a strange sense of humor that is tempered with bitter knowledge. The Stonehelms prefer the deepness of the mountains to the surface world, but because of luck and location, the Stonehelms found themselves the first line of defense through the eastern Warkore Mountains. Booby-trapping almost the whole eastern side of those mountains, they maintain a tiny presence on the surface of some two to three hundred dwarves -- but those dwarves are the most feared warriors of all the dwarves. Master veterans of the War of the Undead, and all the orc battles before that, the Stonehelm Clan boasts nearly five hundred Dwarven Defenders (see Dungeon Master's Guide, p32), as well as camouflaged catapults and trebuchet, and a wicked mentality regarding their enemies.

Leader of the Stonehelms is Yarbus Stonehelm (9th-level fighter, 8th-level Anvil of Galgiran) -- Seamus' adopted father. Not unusual for dwarven clans, Yarbus' brother is the clan's high priest, Kurrold (8th-level cleric, 5th-level Hammer of Galgiran). One of Seamus' child-hood friends is Yarbus' youngest son, Thorril (6th-level fighter).

The clan's heart is a large, natural cave deep within the mountains. The cave has an underground river's falls flowing through it, and carefully diverted to various pools for use in everything from laundry to traps. Light is supplied by dim everburning torches of various colors, and by the smithies' mirrors and armors, designed to reflect light from the master forges all over the cavern in warm oranges and yellows. A natural vein of quartzite was quarried out to make the buildings of the Stonehelms, throwing the dim light everywhere, as well. The town itself rather resembles a bowl with three hills located along the edges, and the waterfall coming out of the wall between two of the little hills. Korkthalam (dwarven for Blood Shivers) has a population of two thousand. Branches lead off from it to the mines, the surface, and the Krelktham (Food District), where about five-hundred of the dwarves live.

Strange Allies
The Stonehelms have made friends with a renegade kobold named Kyipyirip -- a ranger that keeps to the eastern Warkore Mountains. Reclusive and contemplative, Kyipyirip is anything but stupid, and has even learned a smattering of the dwarven tongue. The ranger treats everyone with caution, which is perhaps one reason the Stonehelms like him -- and have even allowed him to visit their homes, much to the consternation of the rest of the Rakoran dwarves.

Kyipyirip: male kobold; Rgr4; CR 4; Size S (3 ft., 7 in. tall); HD 4d10; hp 22; Init +3 (+3 Dex); Spd 30 ft.; AC 15 (+3 Dex, +1 Size, +1 Natural); Attack +3 melee (spiked guantlets, 1d4-2, crit19-20x2), or +8 ranged (shortbow, 1d6, crit20x3, RI60ft); SV Fort +4, Ref +4, Will +2; AL NG; Str 7, Dex 17, Con 10, Int 16, Wis 13, Cha 11. Languages Spoken: Shi'Kobold, The'Kobold, Ogran, Dwarven. Skills and feats: Bluff +1, Climb +1, Concentration +6, Craft (traps) +5, Hide +14, Jump +4, Listen +1, Move silently +3, Profession (hunter) +3, Ride +9, Search +12, Spot +8, Wilderness lore +7; Dodge, [Track], Weapon finesse (gauntlet, spiked). Ranger Spells Per Day: 1. Key Descriptors: fastidious, cautious, lewd, shrewd.

Gyipip (Animal Companion): mountain coyote; CR 1; Size M (4ft long); HD 2d8+4; hp 13; Init +2 (+2 Dex); Spd 50ft; AC 14 (+2 Dex, +2 natural); Attack +3 melee (1d6+1 bite, crit 20 x2); SV Fort +5, Ref +5, Will +1; AL TN; Str 13, Dex 15, Con 15, Int 2, Wis 12, Cha 6. Skills and feats: Hide +3, Listen +6, Move Silently +4, Spot +4, Wilderness Lore +1, [Track +4 w/ scent], Weapon Finesse (bite).

Odd News
Yarbus is more than happy to see Seamus, again -- despite his 'zoo' (the people that are with him). So long as Seamus can assure him that they're house-broken, they'll be accepted (and he's serious). Chimera, being a half-orc, is a different situation. If she's willing to walk with Yarbus and his brother Kurrold through the Hall of Horrors, then she'll be accepted among the Stonehelms. The Hall of Horrors is filled with stuffed orcs and ogres and kobolds, posed in various fashions, against dwarves cut from stone. The Hall depicts terrible circumstances, from murder, rape, and decapitation, to disembowlment, delimbing, and torture. The stone statues are extremely life-like (masterwork crafting at 30+), and require a Fortitude save (DC 14) of anyone viewing them. Failure indicates nausea, sickness, and vomiting.

Yarbus' beard is three months along, from where he shaved it off. He winces if anyone makes note of it, and mumbles something about his wife. Seamus knows how iron-willed Yarbus' wife, Grinella, is. Grinella once killed two ogremai, while they were still invisible, by the simple expedient of beating them to death with her fists. In truth, she's a good dwarven woman, but when Yarbus complained about her shaving her lambchops off, she forced Yarbus' to shave his beard off and 'see how it felt' to have others question his hair-grooming style. She made her point, and Yarbus may never live it down.

The odd news is that of orcs smuggling humans into Rakore. The dwarves can't be everywhere, but they can turn back armies. Human-smuggling, by orcs, is confusing them to no end. In more local news, Ichan Stonehelm (master-miner) discovered an older dwarven settlement that probably dates to the same Grimbeards that had established themselves near Mount Lavanor, millennia ago. Historically speaking, it's the equivalent of finding an Anasazi settlement in Virginia; the Anasazi of New Mexico disappeared with no explanation a thousand years ago, and the mountains are all wrong for the kind of work the Grimbeards did at Mount Lavanor. No one has explored the small settlement, but the carvings are deffinately Grimbeard. Kurrold wants to wait on exploring the settlement, and refuses to bless anyone disturbing what could be dwarven remains, until the quarantines have been lifted, and he's had a chance to talk with Father Bryan Stonegrudge at Mount Lavanor.

The Grimbeard Tombs
The traps are not the worst of it, for the tombs have been corrupted by the War of the Undead -- hoards of skeletons, ghasts, zombies, and worse are trapped inside, trying to get out. Shadows, allips, and spectres have filtered out of the tombs, but have fled the Stonehelms' glory for the deeper, darker labrynthes -- including those that lead up and out.

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