The Black River Irregulars
Compared to the dynamic kingdoms of men and the strange doings of the inscrutable elves, the dwarven Rhulfolk are a bastion of order and reason. Their society has been without major upheaval for over a thousand years, and the history of Rhul traces back longer than any other established civilization in the region. Even their armed disputes are more like duels than wars, being organized and adjudicated by the dwarven parliament, known among their own kind as the Moot. The traditional leaders of the Moot are the Stone Lords, aged and respected dwarves who can trace their bloodline all the way back to the thirteen Great Fathers, divine progenitors of the dwarven people. The other members of the Moot are representatives from the Hundred Houses, the most powerful landed clans. It is this group that is responsible for forging the laws of dwarven society, using an incredibly lengthy set of procedural rules called the Codex.
Across all the known lands Rhulfolk are renowned for their fine craftsmanship and their prowess as engineers and builders. Any child knows the quality of dwarven metalwork and stonecraft, and the stout folk’s skill at mining and love of building is matched only by their ingenuity in mechanikal engineering. Yet equally prized by outsiders is the Rhulic skill and fondness for battle. While their society is eminently stable, skill at arms and warfare is a craft undertaken with the same serious attention as any other. Every clan boasts its own great warriors, and many of these seek to earn fame and profit and to sharpen their skills in the wars outside of Rhul. This has led to an increasing emergence of highly trained and valued Rhulic mercenaries eager to take on contracts in other lands. Entire dwarven conclaves beholden to Rhulic law exist in several of the human kingdoms, and these communities are deemed invaluable sources of skilled labor, quality crafted goods, and reliable sell-swords. It is widely understood that these mercenaries are ultimately still devoted and loyal to Rhul would immediately return to their homeland should it ever need to be defended from outsiders.