Obsidia

Living near the base of the Obsidian Fist, burrowed into the living rock of the upper peaks of that central mountain, is Obsidia, kingdom of the obsidian dwarves, a race of dwarves with skin as black as night, which they often oil until it glistens like polished volcanic glass, a feature from which they take their names. In fact, it is not uncommon for those who first meet the obsidian dwarves to mistake them for some sort of construct. besides this variance in appearance, however, obsidian dwarves are much like dwarves in other parts of the world, except in a few particulars of temperament, brought on by their environment.

Obsidian dwarves do differ difference in their temperament, however, comes from the harsh reality that, while most dwarves face danger from below and trade with the surface, the dwarves of Obsidia find hostile dangers on all sides, in the form of the vast multitude of tribes and hostile living things in the jungles below their high peaks, and so they are forced to be cautious of all who might come to their realm, refusing entry to most. They are happy to assist those to whom they owe debts of honor, and are allies with the human nation of Mankata to help keep the yuan-ti in check, but they will actively hunt intruders into their realm, and enforce sometimes harsh laws to keep their people firm and united in resolve. Anything less would lead to weakness, and weakness is not shown mercy by the Jungle waiting just outside their doors, nor the Underdark just below their realm.

Generally, the daily operations of the obsidian dwarves are run by the guilds. However, these guilds are all overseen by the hereditary monarch of the dwarves, who is always the highest-ranking member of the ruling family who is mentally and emotionally able to handle the job. Thus, while most dwarven monarchies allow only kings to rule over them, obsidian dwarves have a series of queens as well, being far more concerned with function over formality. The present monarch of Obsidia is normally called the High Guildmaster, indicating the importance of guilds in keeping the dwarven way of life divided into orderly groupings.

Major Races: Dwarves (obsidian dwarves especially); Humans; Beastfolk; Halflings.

Government: Guild-Influenced Monarchy

Nation Alignment: Lawful Neutral

Major Cities:
Obsidia Peak: The First City of Obsidia, where the High Guildmaster lives, Obsidia Peak is set close to the top of the central peak of the Obsidian Fist range, with a large city running in smooth-carved tunnels beneath it. This is the central point of all the administration of Obsidia's guild bureaucracy, where all the guilds meet for general council and discussion of points of the law, and where trials are held, on those few occasions where justice is not meted out immediately - normally judicial hearings are held post-facto, to ensure that the actions of others were appropriate given their circumstances, and rendering judgments accordingly.

Fangsnapper: Built low on the eastern side of the Obsidian Fist, Fangsnapper is a fortress city, designed to create a heavily-guarded passage from the dwarven-occupied parts of the interior of the Obsidian Fist with the outside world. The city of Fangsnapper fairly bristles with visible defenses at all times, and the dwarves working there are constantly engaged in keeping the decaying effects of the Jungle from rendering their fortifications useless. Many dwarves from other parts of Therafim have settled in Fangsnapper, drawn there by calls for help from their obsidian fellows, and they happily provide assistance in building and maintaining new and better siegeworks, rallying to the defense of the city. As a major point of contact between the dwarves and the outside world, Fangsnapper sees a great deal of commerce within its walls, and so there are also members of many other races present at almost all times, though anyone within the walls may be called upon to take part in defending the city at a moment's notice. Fangsnapper is also noted for having some of the most elaborate collapsible entryways on Therafim, as it can only be reached by a massive stone bridge that must be raised to allow entry, and can be dropped like a trapdoor under any unwelcome intruders, and the entryway into the underground parts of Obsidia is only through a large swinging double door that has been rigged with magical wards that could bury it under several tons of rock in an emergency.

Mousehole: Where Fangsnapper relies on massive displays of overt force to maintain its defense, Mousehole relies on the tactics of the rodent beastfolk, and on the halflings, namely, secrecy and melding with the landscape. On the western side of the Obsidian Fist, Mousehole is the primary trade port with the kingdom of Mankata, letting boats from ships anchored off the coast come and go up a narrow river that leads through a section of the Jungle that is carefully cultivated by allied druids. Mousehole is ruled by the obsidian dwarf guilds, but it has far more halflings and beastfolk inhabitants, and they factor heavily in all decisions made by their dwarven rulers. The city itself is defended by various pitfalls, numerous scouts, and the guardianship of the druids who maintain their protected areas in that region.