The Five Kings Mountains are tall and imposing peaks, rich with ore and ironbloom mushrooms. Heavily populated by dwarves, they are the largest center of dwarven culture on or beneath Golarion. Highhelm, the largest dwarven city on Golarion is located under one of its peaks: the lofty Emperor's Peak.
Era of the Five Kings Edit
After the empire of Tar Taargadth collapsed in 1551 AR, a new dwarven civilization flourished around the Sky Citadel of Highhelm in the Five Kings Mountains. Five separate dwarven nations were established, each led by a different brother. Within the space of six years, Baron-mayor of Highhelm, Gardrick I founded the Kingdom of Gardadth (1557 AR), Saggorn the Holy established the Pious Kingdom of Saggorak (1559 AR), Doggon created Doggadth, the Impenetrable Kingdom (1560 AR), Grak the Younger oversaw the founding of the Laborious Kingdom of Grakogan (1561 AR), and Taggrick I built the Everlasting Kingdom of Taggoret (1562 AR).
Five Kings Wars Edit
A mere nine years after the founding of the last of the five kingdoms, the first of no less than nineteen civil wars broke out in 1571 AR. These Five Kings Wars lasted over 700 years, only ending when the dwarves tired of the carnage and decided to go to negotiations. With the help of a human delegation from Druma, the dwarves negotiated the Kerse Accord in 2332 AR. This treaty ended the civil wars and began a long-lasting peace. Great towering sculptures of the five kings were carved at the highest peaks of the mountains to celebrate the treaty.
Orcish invasion Edit
The peace sadly lasted only 160 years, before the dwarves' ancient enemy, the orcs, invaded the dwarven kingdoms in 2492 AR. The orcs besieged Highhelm for five years and although they were never able to take the city, the Kingdom of Gardadth collapsed. After their failed assault on Highhelm, the orcs then moved on to Doggadth. The dwarves defended their city for 19 years, but eventually Doggadth fell. The orcs moved on, blockading Saggorak and invading Grakodan simultaneously in 2507 AR. Grakodan fell after two years, but the siege of Saggorak ended only when the last dwarf starved to death in 2519 AR. Taggoret was the last kingdom to fall in 2526 AR after 17 years of war; the Era of the Five Kings was over.
Wild Era Edit
The subsequent period following the fall of the last of the Five Kingdoms, became known as the Wild Era. During the nearly 700 years of its existence, the orcs controlled the Five Kings Mountains and only Highhelm remained to defend the dwarven and human civilizations in the area.
Tar Khadurrm Edit
Khadon the Mighty arrived in the Five Kings Mountains in 3197 AR, aiming to destroy the orcs and end their 700-year occupation of the region. After 82 years of war, Khadon defeated the orcs in 3279 AR at the Battle of Splitmist Pass. Khadon founded the empire of Tar Khadurrm in 3279 AR and the city of Jernashall in 3312 AR. Jernashall became the preeminent city of the new empire, although Highhelm remained its capital. Jernashall became so important that the nations of Cheliax and Isger petitioned it to help them build a surface city close to it. With the help of the dwarves, the city of Raseri Kanton was founded in 3451 AR, and became a vital trade center in the region. Khadon passed away from extreme age in the same year and his son, Sidrik, was crowned king of Tar Khadurrm. A few decades later, in 3495 AR, the bustling metropolis of Jernashall was named the capital of the empire. For 500 years, Tar Khadurrm and its cities flourished, until the Rending of Droskar's Crag in 3980 AR.
The Rending Edit
The seismic and volcanic event known as the Rending destroyed Jernashall and its sister city of Raseri Kanton. In Jernashall, a river of lava spewed forth from the great magmafall in the center of the city and killed every citizen within minutes. The fate of Raseri Kanton was just as horrifying: the whole city fell into the earth. Due to the Rending, King Sidrik III of Tar Khadurrm moved its capital from Jernashall back to Highhelm.
The Rending did what centuries of war and conflict never could: it finally broke the spirit of the dwarven people. The Rending marked the beginning of the decline of Tar Khadurrm, as the dwarves fell into apathy and indifference. For the next 500 years, the dwarves of the Five Kings Mountains carried on, but at the end they fractured and tried to wrest power for themselves and their families.
Droskar's Kingdom Edit
The last great king of Tar Khadurrm, King Talhrik the Industrious, tried to inject the spirit and ethics of dwarvendom back into his people but after his death in 4277 AR, the dwarves once again fractured. Garbold Talhrik was son of King Talhrik the Industrious. Upon his father's death Garbold was crowned but only after much infighting and passionate negotiation. Unfortunately became a victim of treachery. Ordrik Talhrik was King's cousin and closest advisor but also a cleric of Droskar. He was controlling his cousin with addictive substances and making him to cede more and more power to the priests of Droskar. Ordrik murdered his cousin and seized the throne of the Five Kings Mountains kingdom in 4369 AR and attempted to create a theocracy. The resulting Forge War raged for 13 years. Generals loyal to the true crown fought to keep their kingdom but they failed and in 4382 AR, Ordrik declared himself theocrat and all dwarves had to work in Droskar's name. For nearly 100 years the dwarves of the Five Kings Mountains lost all every sense of art and beauty and their craftmanship became merely adequate. Many dwarves fled to the other dwarf kingdoms, as well as settlements in Druma and the Mindspin Mountains. In the end priests could not maintain their hold on the other dwarves and Ordrik's theocracy crumbled in 4466 AR, with entire settlements abandoned.
Collapsed Era Edit
In the 250 years since the fall of Droskar's Kingdom no dwarf has achieved to unite his people. The remaining four Sky Citadels are great metropolises but none can claim to be more than a city-state.
The Five Kings Mountain Range in Avistan boast 17 peaks above 14,000 feet in elevation, including Droskar's Crag, the tallest known active volcano on Golarion. Most of these peaks stand in the Five Kings Mountains region. Only a few of the peaks stand in Andoran. Some of the tallest peaks of the Five Kings Range are listed below. The mountain range is named in honor of the five kings who signed the Kerse Accord in 2332 AR ending seven centuries of civil war.
- Droskar's Crag (South Peak), 28,822 ft.
- Droskar's Crag (North Peak), 28,305 ft.
- Emperor's Peak, 18,365 ft.
- Axtogar Peak, 17,965 ft.
- Mount Langley, 17,400 ft.
- Mount Mist, 16,237 ft.
- Mount Arugak, 15,638 ft.
- Mount Carissa, 15,126 ft.
- Queen Peak, 14,831 ft.
- Mount Gustus, 14,806 ft.
- Mount Onik, 14,714 ft.
- Mount Soryu, 14,603 ft.
- Mount Kla, 14,411 ft.
The Five Kings Mountains are a harsh and dangerous area. The mountains are mostly rocky with occasional plateaus. They are home to savage giants and bloodthirsty wildlife, with few natural resources worth exploiting. The nations that surround the mountains (Druma, Kyonin, Galt, Andoran, and Isger) haven't establish settlements any closer than the foothills and don't approach the dwarven territory. They also do not interfere with the industry carried out by the stout folk in the higher reaches, although they usually conduct a profitable trade with the dwarves. At the forested foothills, dwarven lumber-mills work to procure timber and firewood to support tunneling operations, and to provide light and heat below the surface.
Massive iron gates decorated with a huge dwarf faces carved above the entrance, guard all primary ways into to cities of the Five Kings Mountains. Smaller entrances located on high, otherwise inaccessible plateaus allow the stout folk to cultivate crops and provide grazing land for their herds. Additionally, a large number of iron-grated tunnels ensure that fresh air reaches even the deepest tunnels, and smoke and toxic gases can be safely vented away. Reservoirs have been built that catch the seasonal snow-melt and fill the subterranean cisterns with clear water.
Underground, the dwarves have done miracles of engineering. Deep inside the mountains lie sprawling megalopolises that stretch the length of the Five Kings Range. Nearly all dwarven settlements of the Five Kings Mountains are linked by long tunnels, though there are occasional tunnel collapses, or tunnels that are sealed on purpose, in places like Droskar's Crag or the sealed-off ancient city of Saggorak. Dwarves are forced to travel above ground in these cases. The stout folk have constructed sturdy, iron gates throughout these tunnels, having learned their lesson during the orc invasions. The gates are usually open to help the travel between the cities. For safety reasons. the dwarven cities are arranged in dozens of discrete semi-autonomous caverns. Tunnels and caverns are supported by enduring vaulted arches. The dwarven tunnels are well planned, smoothed, and rune-curved, and the halls and passages of the dwarven cavern-cities are hung with rich tapestries and banners to honor of their history, heroes, leaders, and gods. Despite the ability of their race to see in the dark, most of the inhabited areas in the dwarven settlements are lit by oil lamps, tallow candles, torches, or magic spells, because the dwarves appreciate color and the play of light. Their mines are never lit with true fire due to the existence of explosive gases.
The region has no central authority, as each of the various city-states has its own government and traditions. Because it is the only remaining Sky Citadel in the range, the city of Highhelm is considered the de jure capital. High King Borogrim the Hale convenes a meeting of the Gathering Council, composed of the rulers of Larrad, Highhelm, Kovlar, Taggoret, Rolgrimmdur, and Tar-Kazmukh once every 200 years. The meetings of the Gathering Council are known to go on for months.
Foreign relations Edit
The dwarves of the Five Kings Mountain have business relationships with Andoran even though the Andorens' democratic ideals fail to sit well with the conservative dwarves.
The dwarves will always hold a fondness for the people of Druma who helped them negotiate the Kerse Accord and put an end to their internal wars. Primary trade destinations of the stout folk are the Druman cities of Kerse and Macridi. Flat-bottom boats filled with metal goods and weapons move downstream from Highhelm to both cities on a regular basis.
The dwarves see Isger as a potential military threat, and are concerned by the large number of bandits coming from Isger. The Isgeris' infernal allies also do not sit well with the dwarves.
Their relations with the elves of Kyonin is good. There is a healthy trade between the two nations and they frequently discuss how to deal with their human neighbors.
The dwarves of the Five Kings Mountains are currently allied with the Pathfinder Society of Absalom to investigate a newly discovered Sky Citadel in the Worldwound.