Tome of Dorgoth

The Porcupine

The Porcupine is an enormous mountainous cavern complex that separates the Northern Arm and the Southern Arm. From north to south, it ranges some 700 kilometers and faces the Sea of Songs to its west. The Porcupine derives its name from the sharp peaks that line its outside and tower over the sea, surrounded by the outflow of smokestacks. Within the Porcupine, the dwarves live. While separated in clans, they collectively guard the complex against intruders and use it as a base for mining, refining and crafting weaponry.

The Clans of the Porcupine

Life inside the Porcupine is mostly unknown to outsiders, but many do know that dwarves live in various clans, which share regions with the cavern. Different clans can be known for different trades, or for military reasons. Clan Bardor, for example, made fame as well-trained mercenaries during the War of the Sisters. Clan Arad, meanwhile, is known as a clan of traders, while Clan Bordirūn has deep mining expertise. Clan Arutan is traditionally guarding dwarven territory. Clan Kandarin is specialized in secure transport and safekeeping.

Within the Porcupine, the clans are grouped according to role. Those oriented towards fighting can be found in the outer caverns, defending the Porcupine against intruders from the Northern Arm, the Southern Arm, The Wild and the World Beneath. In the top caverns, this includes many smiths, who wish to be close to natural waterfalls and artificial chimneys.

Architecture

The Porcupine is a complex network of caverns and halls.

Moot Hall

This is the hall used by Clans to convene. It is also where the dwarves meet with foreign emissaries and make trade deals. The Mountain King is never present in Moot Hall, so only meetings that can take place outside of his overview are held here. It is forbidden to lie or dishonor others in Moot Hall.

Moot Hall is a large hall near the northupper part of the Porcupine. Almost all non-dwarves in The Porcupine live in its vicinity, most notably ambassadors from the Kingdom of Laeryll, the Northern Kingdoms and Zhai. It has an extraordinarily high ceiling, embossed with detailed, geometric ornaments. A stone table with seats for one hundred men stands in the middle of the hall. Alcoves line the room, some containing benches that are optionally cushioned for visitors and some containing statues.

The eastern wall of the hall is made of delicately polished stone, in front of which stand several statues. One of these is a statue of Olyxx the Young. The statue, which is slightly larger than life and shows Olyxx sporting a beard that is considerably bigger than it is in real life, was commissioned and gifted by the Kingdom of Laeryll in 904 LC, in an effort to convince the dwarves to declare war on the Labarean Empire.

Culture

Clanstones

Dwarves carry leather bracelets with inlaid stones that are encarved with the rune of their clan. These blessed runes provide them with powers related to their clan – the protector clan Arutan, for example, is blessed for strength, resilience and anger. Only the owner can remove the stones from the bracelet, which is protected by divine magic of Khandar, the Rock Lion.

If a dwarf is in a debt that he cannot immediately pay, he can take one of his runestones and hand it over. The stone entitles its carrier to repayment of the debt by anyone from the debtor's clan. For this reason, it is not handed over lightly – there is no honor in depending on your clan to repay your dues and runestones can be traced back to their original owner.

The leather band as a whole is sometimes taken from dwarves who were overcome in battle, to prove they have been defeated. Not returning the bracelet to the clan is considered a grave insult by all, which is why the orcs and hobgoblins of the Northern Arm take special pleasure in taking it from their dwarven victims.

Handing a single runestone does not affect the debtor in game mechanical terms, but if many are given out, the DM can decide to remove existing blessings (e.g. lowering AC, HP max, skill proficiencies). If handed to another dwarf, he can merge the received runestone with his own bracelet: this is often done to signal debts unpaid.