Thylison (5th Edition)
The Deep Dwarves are a reclusive group of Dwarves who live deep beneath the Iron Peaks, and form the second half of the combined dwarvish race inhabiting the Iron Peaks. In the broad network of worked and unworked caverns below the mountains, the Deep Dwarves spend their time drawing the metals and gems from within the ground, and fashioning them into refined goods of unmatched beauty and quality. The Deep Dwarves hold a deep rooted veneration for the earth and these precious goods they find within and a majority of worked metal goods originate from their homes.
The Deep Dwarves maintain strong ties to their ancient mentors, the Iron Gnomes and as such share their religious dogma. As a result, the majority of Deep Dwarves worship the ancient Primordials, the four beings representing the four elements with a heavy focus towards Earth and Fire.
Deep Dwarves are led by a single clan leader who is voted in and serves for life. The Deep Dwarf Clan leader rules with complete autonomy, with their voice serving as unquestionable law. The Clan leader has the authority to appoint sub-leaders to lead military excursions and oversee remote outposts as needed, and this authority is held until the Clan leader deigns to remove it. The Deep Dwarf clan leader shares responsibility over all dwarven kind with their Sky Dwarves counterpart and is required to spend two months of every year trading positions with their counterpart. This is done so that both Clan leaders respect and understand the challenges faced by their cousins. A clan leader serves until a natural death, or until their counterpart leader challenges them to a vote of outing. If the vote is met with 3/4 combined majority between both clans, the leaders engage in a duel to the death with the victor assuming leadership of both clans until a new leader is elected.
Once led by the Iron Gnomes to expand beneath the mountains, the Deep Dwarves have mostly receded back to their ancestral home that they refer simply to as Holdfast. The massive undercity was originally designed by the Iron Gnomes and is largely self-sufficient with sections dedicated to the farming of mushrooms and other underground plants, areas dedicated to raising subterranean livestock and monitored cisterns.
The Deep Dwarves will occasionally set up expansive outposts, though suitable locations below ground are heavily sought after by the other beings who live below. The few outposts that are successful will grow and have small support communities spring up within them for those who are willing to brave the dangers of living beyond Holdfast.
The Deep Dwarves have a considerable amount of exports including raw and worked metals, precious stones and expertly crafted arms and armor. They rely solely on the Sky Dwarves to transport and sell the goods to anyone outside their mountain home, which limits their ability to import goods rare to them.
The closest allies to the Deep Dwarves are the Iron Gnomes to whom they owe their own limited prosperity. Having welcomed the dwarves to Holdfast millennia ago, and sharing the secrets of the Primordials and teaching them the secrets of metal working, the Deep Dwarves owe much to their Iron Gnomes companions.
The Deep Dwarves have a strong racial connection to the Sky Dwarves despite the fracturing that occurred and the two live in a common society. Although rare, couplings between Deep Dwarf and Sky Dwarves are not unheard of, nor are they actively discouraged.
The Deep Dwarves tend to be extremely xenophobic of all other races and anyone who is not Dwarvish or Gnomish is rarely allowed into Holdfast.
Due to the limited space and resources available underground, the Deep Dwarves are constantly faced with threats and attacks. Many of these attacks are led by the Kobolds who also reside under the mountains and are a constant source of danger to the Dwarves. In addition, there are numerous strange and alien abberations that have arisen since the Cataclysm that make their homes beneath the earth. These creatures are rumored to be allied or related to the creatures that live within the sea to the north.
The Deep Dwarves are trained from birth to handle a smith's hammer, both as a weapon and as a craftsperson so it is rare to find a Deep Dwarf who does not have at least a moderate level of martial skill. Martial prowess is greatly respected among the Deep Dwarves so there is a constant competition to be the best warrior within the society. In addition to the martial training, the pinnacle of Deep Dwarf society are the Slime Callers, Dwarvish druids who master the tracking and training of oozes and slimes. Though a dangerous life that often ends young, Slime Callers are feared by all of the enemies of the Deep Dwarves.