Burning Over the Undersky
The Mountain is actually four connected granite mountain ranges, each riddled with caves and tunnels. The dwarves call the collective group the Deep Sky Spine; it holds up creation and is the literal strong backbone of the world itself. They have a complex and detailed mythology regarding the individual ranges and the mountains within them; each range has a specific dwarvish virtue associated with it and each mountain therein is named for a dwarvish hero or god that embodies that virtue.
The mountain ranges are Trem (family), Farl (wisdom), Crin (strength), and Pres (duty). The major dwarvish cities are Ve, at the junction of the peaks of Trem and Farl, at the lake Yern; Ko, at the junction of the folds of Farl and Crin, at the edge of the high-valley lake Gen and serving as a guard from incursions from the Tundra; and Ne, at the junction of the folds of Crin and Pres, capping the river Cerar, which flows into the Swamp.
The one closest to Skycliff is Trem. The river Voglen flows from here.
The dwarves are the most populous race in this area, and divide the ranges into kingdoms; one per range. Crin is currently undergoing a transitional period, changing hands from the usurper’s descendants to the descendants of a cousin of the hereditary ruler, after a brief, seventy-year conflict.
Otherwise the dwarves mostly get along with each other so long as everyone tends their own affairs. Border disputes are not common, but not rare, either. Their cities are mostly beneath the mountains, with fortresses topping them. Most business with dwarves will be entirely in the fortress area, with visitors rarely being granted access to the city proper.
Humans and halfings live in villages, frequently together, either at the bases or in the valleys of the mountains.
Goliaths live in small tribal communities in caves on the mountainsides. They have a yearly ritual that requires all tribes to meet at the highest peak of Crin.
Between the dwarves and the goliaths, the mountains are relatively safe territory, although it does encompass several hundred linear miles of rock rising to several thousand feet; there are plenty of dangers in certain areas. Mundane creatures such as bears, eagles, goats, and wolves range about widely, and more exotic ones such as griffins, rocs, chimeras, and hell hounds keep returning to old territory that doesn’t stay guarded. There used to be a red dragon who had a lair at western face of Pres, but she was evicted successfully over a century ago.
The dwarven gods are elevated ancestor-heroes. Each was the embodiment of a dwarven virtue in life, and their legends since transcending death have only refined those traits. In the past several centuries, the pantheon has cautiously expanded to include more recent gods, based primarily on how their name has been spread. A dwarf who has his or her name invoked in regard to an aspect of dwarven life is scrutinized by the gods, and those whose name has been used honorably and correctly has a chance of being brought into the pantheon as a demigod. Recently, a goliath was elevated due to his being the clearest exemplar of fair play in memory. The name Salm is new, but becoming well-known.