NPC - The Vidar
I found this old write-up of mine from a Greytalk post long ago thanks to Scott Casper's recent post of his Greytalk Archive blog.
Here is a Dwarven Clan from my campaign. They live in the mountains on the borders of Geoff. Any helpful suggestions or comments would be appreciated.
The Clan Vidar
Addanc the Great, most renowned of all the Vidar, more so than even Vidar Spadehand himself, the first Clanchief. When the Vidar think of themselves they think of Addanc, greatest of clanchiefs. Addanc the Delver, he cut deep within the Stark Mounds. He brought vast wealth to the clan and great sorrow. Addancs desire was his and the clans undoing. Addanc the Lost. He followed the ore to its heart and of all those who went with him, worked alongside him, only one returned, and that one died before he could tell what happened. That night, as the Clan gathered to search for Addanc and the others, the mine shaft belched forth foul monstrosities of the UnderOerth. Many Dwarves died then, many disappeared, perhaps slain and their bodies taken or perhaps much worse, taken alive. All that had been built, all that had been gathered and crafted and stored, all that was of the Vidar, was touched by that night. The Mine of Addanc was at the heart of the Community and though the Vidar had built strong doors and deep chambers, these were set to keep them safe against
what was without, they had built no defense against what came from within.
The fighting lasted all that night. It stormed through the halls and from chamber to chamber. Young and old fought and died, those that could gathered in the Hall of Chiefs, those that could not died or were taken. This was a clan of miners and craftsmen, many of the warriors had died at the mouth of the mine when the horrors first sprang upon them, those who were left were the lucky or the strong.
Avanc the Young, son of Addanc, became leader of his people that night. He was still an apprentice learning the ways of the Oerth and its bounty, but he had the voice and bearing of his father. He called down a curse upon these horrors and swore an oath of blood-vengeance against them. With an iron hammer in one hand and a miners pick in the other he left the Hall of Chiefs and his people followed. All those of Clan Vidar, except the very babes and children, fought the horrors back to the mine shaft. As the strongest forced the monsters down into the UnderOerth the most Craftwise cut the supports and arches and collapsed the tunnel behind them. When dawn came to the Stark Mounds the survivors of the Clan had gathered once more at the Hall of Chiefs. The doors had been shut and the side passages guarded. They lay stunned or stumbled aimlessly among the relics of their chieftans. As dark came again there was a pounding at the main doors. Some Dwarves lifted weapons, others lay where they had dropped hours earlier and would not rise, but all awaited their fate; the end of their clan and their lives. "Open" a voice boomed "Open, it is I, Avanc, the way is closed, Open the door to the Hall of my fathers, Open!"
Till this day the Doors of the Hall of Chiefs have been left open (though the hinges have been carefully oiled and the oak trunk to bar the door kept handy). Avanc had returned and brought a dozen scarred and grim followers with him. They did not speak of what they had found, how they had survived or their means of escaping from the far end of the blocked mine shaft, but the Book of Chiefs, seen by only the clan eldars, is said to tell the tale.
That night, now long years past, changed the Vidar. Once an open community, friendly and generous, they became close mouthed and close-pursed. They had reached out to harvest the Oerths bounty and without warning had been struck a grievous blow. The Oerth itself now had two natures, Evil and Good, and they could no longer fully trust it.
Dwarves of the Vidar Clan are slow to trust. They believe first in their own Clan. The survivors of Addancs Night, less than half the Clan at that time, became very closeknit and insular. They passed this feeling of community to their descendants where it exists strongly among the present day Clan. The greatest honor that they can bestow upon an outsider is admission into the Clan. They have also inherited a dislike for the UnderOerth and a distrust for all creatures living below the ground. This has led to a surprising affinity for surface dwellers, even Elves who they consider no better or worse than other Non-Dwarves such as humans. Before Addanc they were renowned miners and skilled builders. Now they shun those who delve into the Oerth. Still they craft with metals and process ores bought from others who mine. Their work is considered sturdy and of high quality but there have been few Masters
of the Smith craft in their history. All Vidar learn the use of a weapon at an early age but they are generally an unaggressive lot. Their concern is defense and security but they also put a strong emphasis on wealth. Many of their riches had been taken on Addancs Night, most of what was left was used to rebuild and refortify their home. Young Vidar either involve themselves in craft or trade or seek wealth outside of their community. A Vidar returning to their community with wealth is highly respected, as long as they bring no problems back with them. Outward signs of wealth are not allowed within the community, such a display would be considered as tempting fate and bringing the Doom of Addanc down upon them all.
At their heart the Vidar have not forgotten what they were. Vidar Spadehand is still revered, He was no warrior but a master of his craft and wise. He lived a long life, even for a Dwarf and saw his Clan grow in both size and wealth. He wrote a book of laws for his Clan and they are carved along the columns in the Hall of the Chiefs and penned the first lines of history in the Book of Chiefs. The Vidar now think of
him as the Chief of the Golden Years. They seek to find those times once again but they always expect the worst and prepare for it.
Surprisingly the Vidar see Addanc as a lost hero rather than the source of their decline. Avanc his son did much to redeem his fathers name. According to legend there is a passage known only to the Chieftain and his family that leads deep within the UnderOerth. Younger sons and Daughters of the Chief often disappear on quests. It is said that they search for Addanc and follow this passage into the forbidding depths.
There are those among the clan who follow a solely warrior calling. They call themselves the Shield of Avanc. They serve as guards for the Clanhome and the Eldars. There is another branch rumored to exist called the Hammer of Avanc who take on a much more aggressive role. The Hammer is thought to be made up of Vidar who have returned home from the outside world and seek to protect the clan from aggression which might occur not just guard the halls and chambers from direct assault.
Vidar Dwarves tend to be broader and shorter than an average Dwarf. They are known for their fortitude and strength, but while sturdy they are not known for being quick or agile. They are normally quiet and dislike boasting. They dress in drab inexpensive cloth and are known to be miserly. They avoid loud celebration. Abroad they might be seen in the dark quiet corner of an Inn with their back to a wall and their eyes watching for danger.