The mines of Tethyamar were very deep, following the long vertical veins of ore that lay beneath the Desertsmouth mountains. Along these descending ore-veins chains of chambers were constucted that made up the housing, forges, tombs and storage areas of the dwarves of Tethyamar. This design resulted in a far more widespread dwarf hold compared to others of its kind.
Early trade in Tethyamar was primarily with its nearest neighbouring realms. These included Anauria, Asram, Avaeraether, Cormanthyr and Hlondath. After a few centuries its trading connections had expanded to include Cormyr, Hlontar, Myth Drannor, Merrydale, Northkeep and Teshar. With their forged goods, ore and riches, Tethyamar prospered from its ever-growing trade until the founding of Flostren's Hold in 747 DR. After Flostren's Hold under the sway of a consortium of wizards, known as the Zhentarim, fierce competition between the two mining nations erupted.
Due to Tethyamar's scattered design made the kingdom much harder to defend as enemies could target isolated areas easily. However the dwarves tended to be much more self-reliant and hardy because of the far-flung nature of their home.
In Tethyamar culture it was common for dwarves from many different clans to live and work together. Thus comportment and solidarity as a "Tethyamar dwarf" tended to be more important than bloodlines or heritage.
Located in the northern Desertsmouth Mountains, these wondrous mines and caverns were founded in the Year of the Depths Unknown (-145 DR) by Roryn, blood of Thordbard, of the Iron House of fallen Oghrann. Generations of dwarfs carved out magnificent halls and looted the earth of her valuables, selling them to humans and elves, sending rafts of riches down the River Tesh to the Moonsea and beyond.
During this early period, Tethyamar was continually beset by attacks from orcs, hobgoblins and ogres as they carved out their kingdom. Despite their resilience Tethyamar briefly fell to orcs from the Dragonspine Mountains in -88 DR before the dwarves reclaimed their halls in -86 DR. This close defeat caused the Tethyamar dwarves to sponsor the construction of the the fortress-city Rulvadar, to protect against further attacks.
The external part of the Mines of Tethyamar is impressive indeed, if someone is able to find it... First of all, the path which leads to them is unknown or, better, it is unknown from where it starts in or around the Desertmouth Mountains (more better, the survivors of Tethyamar know it, but won't tell anyone, if it does not involve a plan to reconquer what is rightfully theirs). If, and when, someone is able to find it (please, remember to the players that there is no sign which says "Mines of Tethyamar x Km" and points for it...) the path is very long, with many other paths starting from it at random intervals (about 87 in all), which point in other directions and which were made to confuse the traveler, continuing to go towards the top of the mountains for two days, and then, slowly, going down. There is a way, however, to find the correct way. The real path is more worn than the others, albeit lightly. If a character wants to note this, let him do an INT check with a -3 penalty (only the character that wants to notice that is entitled the check), or a Tracking proficiency check with a -3 penalty (if he has it). If he is successful in any of the two, than he notes that one of the paths is more worn that the others, and can manage to follow it. The real path, which is larger enough to let pass one cart (like the others are, at least for half a day), has some outposts of guard along it, which number 11 as a total, and which were excavated in the mountainside (as a result, they are invisible to all, but those who know they are there), and their way of access are always secret stone doors. From them, it was possible to activate prepared-in-advance slides of rock debris which should have blocked the way, in order to delay any intruder, while the soldiers at the outpost were retiring to the following in the series.
Provided that someone is so able and patient (or simply lucky or intelligent enough) to always choose the right way, he finally menages to arrive in front of a slide which completely blocks the way. The slide is, in reality, a perfect and permanent illusion, the first of a series. For anyone the slide will be perfectly real, even if touched, as it makes a sense to find a slide which blocks a mountain path. However, if someone manages to unbelieve the illusion, the ST is with a -4 penalty (supposedly clever players who want to fly past the slide will note that it is very long, possibly not ending... this is, of course, part of the illusion). If the illusion is disbelieved, it is possible to conitnue following the path, up to the moment it will finish against the side of the mountain. This is no illusion at all, as the side of the mountain is real. To continue, one must find the secret entrance to the remaining part of the path [Just a note: if someone wants to follow the path from the air, he will find nothing, but the top of the mountains, because of the fact that the remaining path and the hidden valley behind it are hidden by an illusionary terrain spell which can't be dispelled, as it has been cast by Dumathoin by order of Moradin in person to protect his children.]. The entrance is very well hidden in the mountainside, but the path finishes in front of it, and any character with a minimum of intelligence can imagine a door somewhere.
The secret for opening the door is easy, but at the same time difficult to find. The door must be touched by a true dwarf, while at the same time pronouncing the words "Tethyamar above all". No other means will be effective, as the whole side of the mountain has been made magical by Dumathoin, and impervious to any spell devised to pass it (stone shape, passwall, rock to mud, etc.). If a spell is used to pass the side of the mountain, nothing will happen. If someone other than a true dwarf touches the door, a magic mouth will appear from nowhere, pronouncig the following words in a deep voice and in dwarven language: "Keep back, follower of another faith. The secrets of Moradin's children are not for you to behold!" If some true dwarf manages to find the correct way, the secret door opens, and it is possible to continue.
The path will continue, now going in a sort of canyon, which is 300' high and arrives up to 500'; the path is 20' wide. At the top of the canyon, there are, every 25', specially prepared piles of rock ready to be let loose on those who are walking on the path, in the case of an invasion (they could be activated by a single dwarf). Any pile has enough rocks to reach the weight of 5 tonnes. The path continues for about 1000 yards, and finally reaches a triangular explanade, which is only the prequel to the immense valley which lies ahead, really impressive to behold.
The explanade is 1500' long and 1400' wide at his maximum, and opens in the form of a cone, with the widest part at the top. In this part of the mountain, the height of the surrounding mountainside is 500', and there are 10 specialty built catapults (5 for every side) loaded with loose rocks, and ready to spring. The dwarves of Tethyamar had also the option to use boiling oil, boiling water, greek fire or fiery charcoal instead of the rocks on any attacker. The widest part of the explanade finishes against a massive wall, with a great portal, 20' wide and 15' high, at the center. The wall is 60' high and 30' wide and the portal is made of the same stone of the wall, reinforced with steel; a complex mechanism permits to the two parts which compose it to disappear in the sides of the wall when opened; the wall is not magical. The portal is inscribed with dwarven runes of protection, and can be attacked only by magical weapons of +3 enchantment or better. It is also unattackable by acid, fire and frost. Atop the wall there are four catapults, identical to those on the sides of the explanade. There are no known means, except forcing it, to open the portal from the exterior, as it can be opened only from the interior by pressing a special plate, which is linked to the mechanism which opens the portal. Spell which open magical doors and gates (knock and similar) are ineffective because of the runes of protection (there was no need to construct it to be opened also from the exterior, as there were always guards behind it ready to open it).
Behind the portal there are other explanades, quasi-trapezoidal in form, all long 1500' and 1500', 1600', 1700', 1800', 1900' and 2000' wide at their maximum, which all end with another wall identical to the previously described one, together with an identical portal. Even the defenses are identical except the number of catapults, which is 6 on the top of the third, fourth and fifth wall, and 8 on the top of the sixth and seventh ones.
Behind the seventh wall, there is the last explanade, and the last portal. This explanande is 3000' long and 2500' long at its maximum, and ends in the mountainside. The portal is 30' long and 20' wide, and is identical to the other portals in all respects. On its center, the symbol of the royal house of Tethyamar, the Iron House, is inscribed in adamantite. To enter or to exit, one true dwarf must touch the portal and pronounce the words: "the King rules". The whole side of the mountain has been made magical by Dumathoin and Moradin, and impervious to any spell devised to pass it (stone shape, passwall, rock to mud, etc.). Explanades and walls (side view). From the moment in which the path opens in the first explanade, the step of the explanades is about the 20%, and continues in this way up to the great portal which gives access to the Mines proper. Usually, if the dwarves had the time to do it, the first explanade was completely greased (with a highly flammable grease) before the arriving of any force of attackers (grease reserves were kept in a special place inside the mountain). Groups of 4 dwarves attended to every of the catapults atop the mountainside and atop the walls, and chosen warriors were ready to fight any intruders (these are detailed below). One of the point of strength of the defenses of Tethyamar was the fact that any of the walls, even if as high as the others, was higher than the previous one due to the step of the explanades. This permitted to the attacker to fire with a relative tranquility, as the range of the catapults of the walls from second to seventh was calculated for firing at about 1550-1600' (that it to say it covered the part of the explanande immediately in fron of the wall, that the catapults on the same wall could not cover). Moreover, the disposition of the catapults was shifted atop the walls, as to not interfere with the fire of each other. The range of those on the first wall was much smaller (because smaller were the catapults), and it was only 300-350'. For those who were so brave as to overtake all these obstacles and who tried to climb the walls, they were greased with the same grease used on the first explanade, and for those who remained at the base there was boiling oil or water, greek fire, stones or fiery charcoal to discourage them from attacking.
The army of Tethyamar on the exterior was so disposed: if any attacker should arrive in the first explanade, the welcome was the one previously described; if the attackers were so cunning and brave as to be able to overcome the first portal or to climb the walls, behind the first portal there was a welcoming party composed of warriors who believed in Clangeddin Siverbeard, the Father of Battle, which gave the others the security of never backing away from a fight, no matter the odds. These warriors were in number of 400. With them, there were other warriors, devoted to Moradin, in number of 800. All of them were armed with axes, shields and chain mail, and all of them were equipped with boots which were covered, on the soles, of a sticky substance, as to let them not slip on the steepy explanades. This series was repeated for all the six explanades among the seven defensive walls, for a total of 2400 warriors of Clangeddin and 4800 of Moradin, a really impressive and almost invincible force, backed by the fire of the catapults. If someone was so strong to overcome an explanade and a wall, there was still the remaining ones to overcome, and it was not an easy thing...
If the attackers were able to arrive in the final explanade, that before the entrance to the mountainside, they had to meet another army composed of the best 200 warriors devoted to Dumathoin, 1200 warriors of Clangeddin and 2000 warriors of Moradin, plus all the clerics and priests of those three faiths, and about the 50% of the clerics and priests of Berronar Truesilver, the dwarven goddess of healing (the others behind the great portal, to help and attend the wounded. In addition, any of the Holy Warriors and Most Faithfuls of Moradin, Clangeddin, Dumathoin and Berronar was there as well, bacause the attackers COULDN'T enter in the side of the mountain.
As it is easily understandable, it was not so easy to conquer Tethyamar coming from the main entrance. Unfortunately, as we will see later, the conquering of the fiends, orcs and ogres happened from inside...
The Dwarves of Daggerdale
Tasster and Teszter Mithral Legion (1364DR) - Borlin Ironhorse
In Daggerdale, there are 1,400 dwarves that live in dwarven holds and communities together with humans and other races . Of the numerous clans that came to Tethyamar, only ten exits. The most renowned are the Iron House and the Brightblade Clan. The Clanless Dwarves
In Daggerdale lives c 400 clanless dvarves. These dwarves are found in Dagger Falls and the villages, hamlets, and thorps of the Daggerdalesmen of the Dale. The Dwarven Clans of Tethyamar
Of the numerous clans (c 20) from Oghrann that settled in Tethyamar remains only ten clans. Five clans stayed in the Dale and the other five moved on and settled in Cormyr, other parts of the Dalelands, the Moonsea, and other lands of the Inner Sea. The clans that remained in the Dale are the Brightblade, the Greatanvil, the Oreseeker, the Timekeeper, and the Vanguard. The clans that left the Dale are the Deepdigger, the Doubleaxe, the Iron House, the Steellink, and the Truehammer.
Most of the c 950 dwarves that have clan association and that lives in the Dale, live in small dwarven holds scattered all over the Dale. These clans are led by chieftans and elders and they all recognise the chieftan of the dwarven clan Iron House as their king. The Brightblade Clan of Anathar's Dell of Tethyamar
My latest research make be believe that the Brightblade Clan is a very small clan, consisting of maybe five families. Thus, the figure below, 300, might get changed. Furthermore, now I am pretty sure that the Brightblade are a Tethyamar clan.
The Brightblade Clan of Anathar's Dell of Tethyamar have c 300 members. Their halls are located in the silver mines below the community of Anathar's Dell. The Greatanvil Clan of Tethyamar
The Greatanvil Clan of Tethyamar has c 150 members. Their hold, Greatanvil Hall is located in northern Daggerdale. Around the dwarven hold has a community of farms grew up.
The head of the clan's ruling family, the Greatanvil House, is Belgin 'the Tall' Greatanvil (AL male shield dwarf Cla#), son of Faem, blood of Anthan, of Greatanvil Hall of Tethyamar. Belgins chief advisor is Phaeba 'the First' Greatanvil (AL female shield dwarf Cla#), daugther of Osk, blood of Anthan, also of Greatanvil Hall of Tethyamar. The captain of the guard is Valdyr 'the Dreaded' Greatanvil (AL female shield dwarf Cla#), son of Barr, blood of Durant, of Greatanvil Hall of Tethyamar, again. The Oreseeker Clan of Tethyamar
The Oresseker Clan of Tethyamar has c 200 members and their hold, Oreseeker Hall is located in the Dagger Hills. About half of the members of the clan live in Oreseeker Hall. c 50 of its member lives in Oreforger Hold in the Dagger Hills and c 50 lives in the hold of Delgar House, also in the Dagger Hills. The Timekeeper Clan of Tethyamar (Hidden)
The Timekeeper Clan of Tethyamar has c 250 members and their hold, Timekeeper Hall is located in the Desertmouth Mountains, halfway south from Dagger Falls. The Vanguard Clan of Tethyamar (Främsta led, Hidden)
The Vanguard Clan of Tethyamar was already a small clan in the times of Tethyamar. Today, this clan of hidden counts only c 50 members. They live in a secret hold in the Desertsmount Mountains six miles north of the Dagger River. They trace their linneage to Vanguard Hall in Tethyamar.
The head of the clan's ruling family, the Vanguard House, is Nor 'the Gray' Vanguard (AL male shield dwarf Cla#, 1161 DR), son of Delgar, blood of Immar, of Vanguard Hall of Tethyamar. The captain of the guard of Vanguard Hall is Zarna 'the Grim' Vanguard (AL female shield dwarf Cla#), daughter of Bryth, blood of Haeil, of Vanguard Hall of Tethyamar. As captain of the guard for a dwarven clan of c 50 members, he spents part of his time at walking from outlook post to post, and checking that the sealed halls (there are so few Vanguard dwarves, that they have been forced to seal of many halls and mines) remaines so. Other Clans
In the Dale lives dwarves who are member of other clans, for example, Hillsafar dwarves. These few dwarves live in the Dale, away from their clan's halls and count c 50.