A land known for its bare stone and lack of plant life, Graden consists of vast stretches of wasteland filled with grey rocks, and two points of interest. The first of these is the society of mountain dwellers that lives on the twin peaks of Gheron and Cradon, and the second is the two harbor cities on either coast, Azelm and Portside. There are stone quarries dotted about the landscape near particularly large deposits of useful stone, but mostly it is a barren place prowled by the occasional lean predator living off the animal life that has adapted to the wastes.
To the dwarves of the mountain though, Graden is an entirely different land. Under the earth lie the vast holds of the dwarven kings. They live in secret underground, hoarding their wealth and hiding their existence from the surface dwelling races above.
Long ago, the dwarves were nearly wiped out in a mass genocide perpetrated by the evil kingdom of Loxi. Stripped of their lands in a truly insidious way, the once fertile nation of the dwarves was subjected to a massive spell, raising the arable land and rolling hills into impossibly tall mountains. Such was the hubris of their leader, he decided to claim the entire country as his personal keep, raising the mountains as testament to his power.
Ripping up the bedrock of the earth had predictable consequences, and volcanoes spewed ash and lava for months, blackening the sky and killing all plant life that had survived the upheaval.
At the end of this, the remaining dwarves emerged from their shelters and returned from distant lands where they had taken refuge. But Thaznil was offended at what he saw as the “vermin” skittering over his perfect society.
The ensuing systematic slaughter rooted out and killed all but the most clever, hardy, and paranoid dwarves, who dug deep underground, so deep divination magic could not find them. And here they have remained, the story of the disaster passed down from generation to generation, driving an already insular group into paranoid xenophobia.
Those dwarves who can’t take life under the mountain and run away to adventure are giving up their entire lives to do so. To ensure their secret is never discovered, all dwarves are branded at birth with a spell bound to their life essence. When they pass the threshold from the halls of their birth to the outside world, the knowledge of their entire lives is wiped from their memory. No living dwarf beyond the gateway knows of its existence.
The dwarves found in the rest of Zendal form their own makeshift societies, but all have a sense of restlessness, and they all know at some base level that they have no true home.