Valorous deeds and heroic battles could not suffice to preserve the two dwur kingdoms. Clinging precariously to their two handholds in the mountain range, the Lortmil dwarves faltered and nearly fell to the relentless attacks of goblin-kind. With their strength and their resources committed to defending their halls, the undermountain kings had few resources left for expanding their mines or extracting more wealth. What they did extract from the earth they found difficult to bring to market without control of the mountain passes. “We are rich in gemstones such as the world has never seen,” the thane of Gilmorack said, “But our children cannot eat gemstones nor mill flour from gold.” Pushed to the breaking point, the dwarves attempted a truce with the goblin-kind.

Against the popular consensus of his people, the thane of Balnorhak initiated the attempt at peace. He sent an appeal to the hobgoblin priests of Grot-Ugrat, the ancient city of the hobgoblins set low in a mountain valley. Now it must be told that the hobgoblins of the Flanaess regard Grot-Ugrat as a holy city, sacred to their god Nomog-Geaya. Moreover, the city and all the vale about it was once revered by all goblin-kind, and many temples to their unholy deities stood therein. Hobgoblins from all of eastern Oerth considered pilgrimage to Grot-Ugrat a sacred duty incumbent upon each one of them, at least once in their lifetimes. Maglubiyet and Gruumsh also kept rival temples and shrines in the holy city where they competed to slurp up the blood of sacrifices. Their worship regularly inspires bloodshed among competing shamans and rival priesthoods, but not within the sacred valley. The priests that ruled Grot-Ugrat upheld an ancient prohibition on bloodshed within the boundaries of the sacred valley, and even dwarves were allowed to visit the city unmolested. All those who came and went from Grot-Ugrat respected the ancient tradition and feared the consequences should they violate the sanctity of that sacred valley

Once the two sides agreed to meet and parley, they did so not in the hobgoblin city, but outside the battlements of the dwarven fortress of Hoch Dunglorin. Under the mediation of the clerics of Nomog-Geaya, the mountain dwarves struck a covenant-treaty with representatives of all the various goblin-kind tribes. For their part, the goblin-kind chieftains agreed to honor the newcomer’s claims, leaving their tunnels open, and refraining from raiding within the borders of the dwarven kingdoms. More than that, they swore on the names of their gods to let dwarven caravans move through the overland passes without fear of ambush. In return for these bounties, the dwarves agreed to honor the boundaries of the various tribes and to cease hunting them in the lower tunnels. They also promised a tithe of the gold, silver, and precious gems they obtained from the mines which would be delivered to the priests of Grot-Ugrat who swore to distribute the wealth among the rest of the goblinoid tribes. Such concessions had never been offered by any dwur-folk aforetime, nor has such a thing happened since.

All the treaty members swore in the names of their respective gods, and they sacrificed cattle, sheep, and goats to seal the covenant in blood. A celebration ensued. Drums pounded through the night and echoed off the canyon walls. For the first time and the last time in the history of Oerth, dwarves, goblins, orcs, hobgoblins, and ogres shared a covenant meal.

The treaty, however, was doomed from the outset. Even if the goblin-kind chieftains intended to honor their commitments, they did not possess the power of which they boasted. They had little control over the independent clans and petty warlords which constituted their tribes, much less the shamans who held the real power. Raids and incursions into dwarvish territory continued unabated. Enraged dwarves accused the priests of Grot-Ugrat of swindling tribute from them while doing nothing to control the tribes. Both sides resumed the status-quo of violence and hatred, and the name Grot-Ugrat became a curse and an obscenity among the dwarves.

Goblinkind tells a different version of the story. They say that the dwarves took advantage of the goodwill of Grot-Ugrat, broke the treaty, betrayed the gods, and stole their land.

Kelly, Thomas. “Dwur Kingdoms of the Lortmils – History, Development, and Locations of Dwarven Strongholds.” Oerth Journal #33, Summer 2020

Lortmil Mountains


Greyhawk Samaryllis Samaryllis