The Sky Dwarves originally shared the deep caverns of The Ironbeak Mountains and were indistinguishable from their Deep Dwarf kin until one day, many millennium ago, a large group of Deep Dwarves unanimously decided to travel to the surface to discover what resided there. Upon breaking into the surface, the Dwarves encountered massive eagles, intelligent and with a similar clan structure as the Dwarves. Initially the Dwarves were convince that they had ascended into the heavens, but with some work the Eagles managed to assure the dwarves that they were just as mortal. Touched by the experience of seeing the sun and sky for the first time, and meeting the majestic Ironbeak Eagles The Dwarf families swore they would never live beneath the mountain again and thus were the Sky Dwarves born.
The Sky Dwarves reside in The Ironbeak Mountains, living in stone and wooden fortresses dotted throughout. They are deeply protective of their mountain home and are constantly engaged in skirmishes with the Ironbound Orcs and the feral Ogres that also make their homes atop the mountains. The Sky Dwarves live in unity with the Deep Dwarves who reside in the expansive caverns below the The Ironbeak Mountains and they provide trade exporting and importing for their reclusive cousins. The bond they formed with the Ironbeak Eagles has strengthened over the years and the two live in harmony, with the lesser eagles serving as beloved pets and companions to both. The Sky Dwarves are able to build and provide more stable homes for the Giant Eagles due to their opposable thumbs and the Ironbeak Eagles provide scouting, military support and hunting, as well as a constant reminder of the wonders of being above ground.
The Sky Dwarves are deeply religious but they are also fluid in their worship. As a result of the early influences of the Iron Gnomes, the Sky Dwarves share the creation belief that the world was created by elemental primordials, four facets of the four core elements. This belief has been tempered and influence by their deep connection with the Ironbeak Eagles and unlike their cousins below, they believe the most important elements are the Earth from which they originated, and the Wind to which they most desire to be carried by.
The Sky Dwarves are led by a single Clan leader whose sole word carries the weight of Sky Dwarf law. The Clan Leader is voted in by the rest of the clan and once appointed the role, serves for life. The Clan leader has the sole power to appoint Talons as he sees fit, who serve as lieutenants and advisors, and oversee the various communities and speak with the voice of the Clan Leader. The only individual who carries an equal amount of influence on the Sky Clan is the Clan leader of the Deep Dwarves. Each clan leader is technically responsible for the safety and prosperity of both clans, though historically each concerns himself chiefly with the their own side of the mountain. In order to ensure that both clan leaders are aware of the challenges and strengths of the other clan, they are required to spend 2 months of each year serving on the other clan. If at any point either clan leader feels the other is no longer suitable to lead, one can issue a challenge to the other. The challenge must be put to vote by both clans and has to carry the support of 3/4 of all combined clan members. If it passes, both clan leaders engage in a duel to the death, with the survivor assuming temporary leadership of both clans while a replacement for the loser is found.
The Sky Dwarves have their “capital” at the entrance that leads to the Deep Dwarf undermountain entrance. The Capital is called Skyhold and serves as the primary entrance/exit for the Deep Dwarves settlements and accounts for the majority of the Sky Dwarf population. In addition to Skyhold, the Sky Dwarves maintain dozens of fortified encampments scattered throughout the mountains, giving particular attention and resources to those that chain along the primary route of descent into the Tamrest Forest.
Due the to Spartan nature of life atop The Ironbeak Mountains, Sky Dwarf exports are fairly minimal. The Sky Dwarves however, are much more comfortable with above ground travel, and are more familiar with traversing the mountain ranges down into the Fallanstaff Plains. As a result they serve as the primary exporters for any goods coming out of the undermountain from the Deep Dwarves and the Iron Gnomes. The Sky Dwarfs do have access to Ironwood, a particularly strong type of wood that draws nutrients from the minerals in the mountains and when harvested and treated properly, can be fashioned into weapons with the strength of iron, but the weight and properties of wood. The Sky Dwarves use this wood in construction of armors and weapons, particularly their repeating crossbows which they are masters with.
The Sky Dwarves primary allies are the Deep Dwarves with whom they share clan blood with. The Deep Dwarves view the Sky Dwarves as close kin and each clan would shed blood or die for the other if needed. The Sky Dwarves feel an even deeper, spiritual connection to the Ironbeak Eagles with whom they share their mountain homes with, and this bond can occasionally run so deep that some Sky Dwarves will forego marriage and family to form a lifelong bond with an Ironbeak Eagle partner. This bond is non-romantic but runs as deep as any other relationship known to Sky Dwarves. The Sky Dwarves have a shaky relationship with the Wild Elves of the Tamrest Forest as they use the forest paths to export goods, trading metal weapons and other forged goods for passage.
The primary enemy of the Sky Dwarves are the Ironbound Orcs, a loosely organized gathering of orc tribes who use primitive body modifications as shows of status and power. The Ironbound Orcs hunt the Ironbeak Eagles and their smaller kin for sport, capturing eggs as delicacies or to raise the birthed birds as pets and playthings. In addition, resources are scarce on the mountain so the frequent back and forth skirmishes between the Ironbound Orcs and the Sky Dwarves is equally motivated by racial enmity and fights for precious resources. In addition to the Ironbound Orcs are the Feral Ogres who live in small groups and are too lazy and stupid to develop any sort of civilization themselves. Instead they see the organized and well maintained forts of the Sky Dwarves and are frequently trying to take them for themselves. Occasionally the Ironbound Orcs and The Feral Ogres will form joint raiding parties which usually results in the Sky Dwarves ceding control of the territory until they can rally the full force of their military to reclaim it in a bloody and violent siege.
The Pride of the Sky Dwarves is the Ironbeak Brigade, specialized shock troopers who work with trained eagles, Ironbeak Eagle partners and their own specially crafted repeating crossbows. The Ironbeak Brigade are experts at mountain top fighting and spend years training with the eagles to formulate a variety of attack patterns, striking from land and air in synchronicity that is unmatched.
Sky Dwarf Racial Traits
+2 Constitution, +2 Wisdom, –2 Charisma: Dwarves are both tough and wise, but also a bit gruff.
Medium: Dwarves are Medium creatures and have no bonuses or penalties due to their size.
Slow and Steady: Dwarves have a base speed of 20 feet, but their speed is never modified by armor or encumbrance.
Surface Survivalist: Some dwarves have dwelt so long aboveground they have lost their ability to see at night. However, their adaptation to extreme environments allows them to treat wind conditions (when determining whether or not they are checked or blown away) and either hot or cold climates (choose one) as one step less severe.
Defensive Training: Dwarves get a +4 dodge bonus to AC against monsters of the giant subtype.
Lorekeeper: Dwarves keep extensive records about their history and the world around them. Dwarves with this racial trait receive a +2 racial bonus on Knowledge (history) checks that pertain to dwarves or their enemies. They can make such skill checks untrained. .
Hatred: Dwarves receive a +1 bonus on attack rolls against humanoid creatures of the orc and giant subtypes due to special training against these hated foes.
Hardy: Dwarves receive a +2 racial bonus on saving throws against poison, spells, and spell-like abilities.
Mountaineer: Mountain dwarves are skilled at climbing and navigating narrow ledges. Dwarves with this racial trait are immune to altitude sickness and do not lose their Dexterity bonus to AC when making Climb or Acrobatics checks to cross narrow or slippery surfaces.
Rock Stepper: Dwarves with this racial trait can skillfully negotiate rocky terrain. They can ignore difficult terrain created by rubble, broken ground, or steep stairs when they take a 5-foot step.
Weapon Familiarity: Dwarves are proficient with battleaxes, heavy picks, and warhammers, and treat any weapon with the word “dwarven” in its name as a martial weapon.
Languages: Dwarves begin play speaking Common and Dwarven. Dwarves with high Intelligence scores can choose from the following: Giant, Gnome, Goblin, Orc, Terran, and Undercommon.