During the Feywar the Empire was struggling to supports its war with the elves and demanded huge levies from the provinces. One of the largest armies mustered was that of the dwarves who forged a race of mechanical soldiers known as the battleforged, to fight in their place. These soldiers kept the empire afloat for a time, and eventually assumed a central role in the conflict as Emanon's forces were destroyed.
When the war ended the dwarves were in an excellent bargaining position, they had one of the largest armies in the world and the empire was suffering from the prolonged war effort. This, the dwarves took it upon themselves to demand autonomy from the Empire, however one of the Emperor's advisors convinced them to take the title 'Regents of Ironrange'. Now the dwarves owe but one fealty to the Empire, that of military support if another war should begin. Although it is largely recognised that the dwarves truly rule their own kingdom and should they declare themselves an independent nation, the empire would be powerless to retain the province.
The Ironleaf CosterEdit
After the Feywar, not all dwarven troops withdrew from the province of Elfswood. Infact, a small group of entrepreneurial dwarves found a very lucrative business in logging the ancient trees and selling the valuable lumber off to other parts of the empire, much to the anger of the denizens of the forest. This has resulted in a war between the dwarven logging industry and elven nationalists, with the dwarves and warforged skirmishing with an army of fey upon the southern border of the forest. The dwarves have pooled together their resources to maximise profit, calling themselves the Ironleaf Coster. The chief operators run reside in underflame, however many of the ground lumberjacks can be found on the southern border of the Elfswood.
When emperor Emnon I went to war with the elves, he demanded huge taxes from the provinces. Unable, or some say unwilling, to pay, the Dwarves needed an army. They could not risk their small population in open war, so instead they built an army of disposable constructs, called battleforged. In total 40,000 were produced although fewer actually saw battle in the Elfswood. Today these battleforged lie dormant as do large number of warforged, constructs built with a similar purpose in mind. From time to time, these are stolen and animated to either sell on the black market or for much more sinister purposes.
As the underdark is connected to the province of Ironrange, it is logical that the two areas conduct business. For centuries the dwarves and the creatures of the realm bellow have traded, gone to war and engaged in intrigue. To access either realms one must pass down a great underground causeway, and to protect themselves the dwarves of old built a gate midway. Although in the years of today the defence this gate provides is trivial, it is now valued for its more symbolic nature. 'Fardeep' Gate represents the state of current dwarven affairs. When the gate stands open the dwarves at peace with the underdark, and when the gate closes the dwarves are at war.
Seekers of the SteelcrownEdit
Many dwarves dream of full independence from the empire and a return to the age of kings, when the dwarves ruled themselves. An artefact iconic of the time was the Steelcrown, a headpiece of cooled molten iron that the dwarven monarchs would wear. It is said that any dwarf who wore it had received an ancient magical force of forging. Within dwarven society, there are those who seek the crown and believe that if it was found and worn, it would rally the dwarves against the empire.
The city of underflame is the dwarven capital and namesake of the underflame regency. It is a metropolis built into the seven pillars of a giant lave filled cavern within a volcano, connected by sturdy rope bridges. The seven pillars make up the districts of the city, the more affluent the neighbourhood, the more remote the pillar. The poorer residential districts only have so many pillars carved from the pillars themselves, with others having to be hung from the sides of the rock on thick swaying ropes.
This provides a sharp contrast to the spacious manors and public buildings of the last pillars, with the richer dwarves being able to plant gardens or keep courtyards within the pillars (magical sunlight?). The last pillar, accessible by a single stone bridge, holds the palace of the dwarven king and is currently the chambers of the Underflame Regency.