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 The betrayal that led to the fall of Barakuir
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Demzer
Senior Scribe

637 Posts

Posted - 11 Sep 2018 :  14:03:41  Show Profile Send Demzer a Private Message  Reply with Quote  Delete Topic
Hello fellow scribes,

my research is turning up nothing on the object in the title. I'm specifically referring to one of the entries for 1383 in The Grand History of the Realms where its stated:
"... the crusaders of the Great Rift discover a collection of ancient runestones detailing the fate of Clan Duergar and the betrayal that led to the fall of their kingdom."

Anyone know of the sources for this betrayal?
From what I could find, there was no malice from the other dwarven kingdoms, simply put the illithids were surprisingly efficient (or maybe not, they had 20 years) in their enslaving of Clan Duergar. Considering this was shortly after the end of the Second Spider War in -8137, when the dwarves pledged to never again fight each other, I struggle a bit to see what kind of event might have happened.

Maybe I am completely wrong and it has to do with betrayal from within Clan Duergar that allowed the swift action of the illithids (and that may be why this is the event that prompts the attack from the illithid of Oryndoll on the Armies of Gold and Steel).

Any pointers, anyone?

Thanks!

dazzlerdal
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Posted - 11 Sep 2018 :  15:09:30  Show Profile Send dazzlerdal a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I always assumed the betrayal was from the point of view of the duergar, in that they viewed the dwarves not attempting to rescue them as a betrayal.

However, given the info we have of shanatar it was as rife with political intrigue as anywhere else in the realms so an actual betrayal would be fitting

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George Krashos
Master of Realmslore

Australia
5235 Posts

Posted - 11 Sep 2018 :  16:23:23  Show Profile Send George Krashos a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by dazzlerdal

I always assumed the betrayal was from the point of view of the duergar, in that they viewed the dwarves not attempting to rescue them as a betrayal.

However, given the info we have of shanatar it was as rife with political intrigue as anywhere else in the realms so an actual betrayal would be fitting



Yes, I always read it as Clan Duergar believing that they'd been abandoned to their fate by the rest of the clans.

-- George Krashos

"Because only we, contrary to the barbarians, never count the enemy in battle." -- Aeschylus
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Demzer
Senior Scribe

637 Posts

Posted - 11 Sep 2018 :  16:41:11  Show Profile Send Demzer a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by dazzlerdal

I always assumed the betrayal was from the point of view of the duergar, in that they viewed the dwarves not attempting to rescue them as a betrayal.



Yeah, that why I am confused. The betrayal as far as I know was only perceived by Clan Duergar. Does this means that the runestones detail how the rest of Shanatar just sit by intentionally? Because all the other sources state that Shanatar was actually fighting for the whole 20 years of the Mindstalker Wars.

quote:
Originally posted by dazzlerdal

However, given the info we have of shanatar it was as rife with political intrigue as anywhere else in the realms so an actual betrayal would be fitting



Uhm no, that would make everything in the Realms equally dull ("everyone is evil and a backstabbing SOB" is as dull an distaseful as "everyone is good and pious") and dwarves just like shorter humans but the same in every respect, doubly dull. Dull squared.
Especially considering when did it happen. The dwarves got their own dose of internecine war with the Spawn Wars (and were pretty good at it, about 850 years), then got a rude awakening with the Spider Wars and by the end of the Second Spider War, when they retook Alatorin, they vowed on the Wyrmskull Throne to stop acting against each other. This was in -8137, the Mindstalker Wars start in -8100, saying that 7 kingdoms of dwarves decided to renege on a vow they made 37 years prior is as mischaracterizing as it can get.
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Demzer
Senior Scribe

637 Posts

Posted - 11 Sep 2018 :  16:45:55  Show Profile Send Demzer a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by George Krashos

quote:
Originally posted by dazzlerdal

I always assumed the betrayal was from the point of view of the duergar, in that they viewed the dwarves not attempting to rescue them as a betrayal.

However, given the info we have of shanatar it was as rife with political intrigue as anywhere else in the realms so an actual betrayal would be fitting



Yes, I always read it as Clan Duergar believing that they'd been abandoned to their fate by the rest of the clans.

-- George Krashos



Same, that's why I'm confused. Does this runestone finding mean there was actually a plan to abandon Clan Duergar?

Can you remember any obscure bit of Realmslore hidden somewhere regarding this?
I'll probably need to check The Wyrmskull Throne adventure but that's my last guess at some bits of info.
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dazzlerdal
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Posted - 11 Sep 2018 :  17:06:24  Show Profile Send dazzlerdal a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Politics does not always have to be about evil, it's about morally grey areas.

Another clan or perhaps the political elite of another clan could have got wind about the illithids amassing thrall forces. Suspecting an all out attack they decided that if they began fortifying everywhere it would give the illithids an idea the dwarves knew about the attack and the illithids could do so prematurely.

So a decision is made to sacrifice one region so the others can survive. They delve mine's along the border with illithids and accidents cause the collapse of vital thoroughfares. This means the illithids only option is to go through clan duergar territory.

The dwarves then fully intend to have forces ready to rush to duergar territory but the illithids sneakily collapse their own thoroughfares and isolate duergar from shanatar.

It wasn't evil, it was planning for war and a calculated gamble that failed. The duergar perceive it as evil and a betrayal but that's because they suffered as a result. They didn't know about the army of dwarves marching on duergar territory that never made it because the tunnels were collapsed.

Or something like that. Now that I'm older I like politics aspects in my game. It gives individuals real motivation and helps develop plots from a personal point of view to give big end results (like the dwarves betrayed clan duergar, when in reality the dwarves tried to save shanatar).

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Brimstone
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USA
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Posted - 11 Sep 2018 :  18:28:48  Show Profile Send Brimstone a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Unforeseen and unintended consequences.

Or it could be that someone was getting pay back for some long forgotten slight.

Interesting discussion btw.

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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
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Posted - 11 Sep 2018 :  20:21:29  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I, too, assumed it was a case of blaming the other dwarves, regardless of the truth of the situation. Something happened, and the duergar blamed the dwarves, either assuming it was a betrayal or simply wanting to cast the blame elsewhere.

Of course, there could have been a betrayal -- but not from other dwarves.

All it would have taken would be one person to give the illithids a toehold, and then things go south from there. Perhaps a ranking duergar made a deal to get more power, and the illithids used that toehold to take over everything. Or maybe a slave/servant/foundling of another race, wanting to get out from under the duergar, makes a deal with the illithids, with the same unforeseen end results.

Or the foundling could have been some half-illithid thing, or a doppelganger, who acted all duergar-y until the right moment...

It could have also been that the illithids approached, made friendly, were cautiously received as allies or at least non-hostile envoys, and then WHAMMY! They've mentally enslaved the duergar leadership and start rounding up the rest.

Either way, it's a betrayal, and doesn't involve other dwarves.

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Edited by - Wooly Rupert on 11 Sep 2018 20:22:27
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BadCatMan
Learned Scribe

Australia
335 Posts

Posted - 12 Sep 2018 :  01:47:00  Show Profile Send BadCatMan a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Races of Faerūn page 15 seems to explain this. There are two distinct events that could imply a betrayal. The first is before the war: "Although they swore allegiance to the Wyrmskull Throne, the rulers of Clan Duergar thought their king should have been selected to rule Shanatar at the conclusion of the Second Spider War. Consumed with bitterness, the dwarves of Barakuir largely turned away from the rest of the empire." So the betrayal could be Clan Duergar's king being passed over in favour of another, and the duergar certainly hold a grudge.

The second is during the war. "The foolishness of this action was quickly proved when war broke out with the illithids of Oryndoll, a city that lies deep beneath the Shining Plains, around -8100 DR. Although Shanatar battled the illithids to a stalemate, the enemy's armies managed to cut off Barakuir from outside reinforcement. By the time the Mindstalker Wars had ended, Barakuir had fallen to the illithids, and most of its inhabitants had been enslaved as thralls." That doesn't lay any blame on Shanatar, but page 16 gives the duergar point of view: "The duergar regard their shield dwarf cousins with particular bitterness, dating back to the shield dwarves’ failure to succor Clan Duergar during the Mindstalker Wars." Thus, the duergar believe the other dwarves betrayed them by not providing sufficient aid. However, the illithids had completely cut off Barakuir, so it was impossible for them to receive aid anyway. If Clan Duergar were unaware of this, as they likely would be while under siege, and being already suspicious after their king was passed over, they'd likely believe they'd been betrayed and abandoned. So it's all a tragic misunderstanding.

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George Krashos
Master of Realmslore

Australia
5235 Posts

Posted - 12 Sep 2018 :  03:59:54  Show Profile Send George Krashos a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Yep, correct. And the runestones in question have been written by Clan Duergar, setting out their tragic defeat and their views in relation to why they had been seemingly abandoned by the other dwarves of Shanatar.

-- George Krashos

"Because only we, contrary to the barbarians, never count the enemy in battle." -- Aeschylus
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Demzer
Senior Scribe

637 Posts

Posted - 12 Sep 2018 :  08:29:30  Show Profile Send Demzer a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Ok, so it's as I believed in the first place.

These runestones explain to the shield/gold dwarves why the duergar hate them.

Now to spark a reconciliation of sorts I need something else to let the duergar know they were mistaken.
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dazzlerdal
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United Kingdom
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Posted - 12 Sep 2018 :  08:41:42  Show Profile Send dazzlerdal a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I'm not sure I can think of anything that would allow a dwarf to forget a grudge, let alone a duergar.

I suppose the only thing that would come close is if the dwarves retook shanatar and then offered the wyrmskull throne to the duergar and asked them to be overking of all the kingdoms of shanatar.

Then they might think about it but they'd probably be very suspicious

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The Masked Mage
Master of Realmslore

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Posted - 16 Sep 2018 :  11:43:00  Show Profile  Send The Masked Mage an AOL message  Click to see The Masked Mage's MSN Messenger address Send The Masked Mage a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I don't see any reason to assume that the other clans were without blame. While we have several recent examples of dwarves all coming together to accomplish a great end, that does not mean that a particular time of rivalries did not exist where several dwarf kings agreed that they would all gain in power by letting one fall by the wayside. There are good and neutral and evil and lawful and chaotic dwarves just like every other race. Maybe during those events you had some ebil rulers who conspired in the downfall of that clan. Seems plausible enough.
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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
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Posted - 16 Sep 2018 :  14:58:52  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I don't see dwarves just standing by and watching while one of their clans gets conquered by mind flayers.

I'd imagine that when Barakuir fell, the illithids had already managed to weaken it from within, making it easier to cut them off from the rest of Shanatar.

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Demzer
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637 Posts

Posted - 17 Sep 2018 :  09:36:51  Show Profile Send Demzer a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by The Masked Mage

I don't see any reason to assume that the other clans were without blame. While we have several recent examples of dwarves all coming together to accomplish a great end, that does not mean that a particular time of rivalries did not exist where several dwarf kings agreed that they would all gain in power by letting one fall by the wayside. There are good and neutral and evil and lawful and chaotic dwarves just like every other race. Maybe during those events you had some ebil rulers who conspired in the downfall of that clan. Seems plausible enough.



Very true but, as I already stated in this very thread, the time of rivalries of the dwarves of Shanatar laster about 850 years and ended with the Spider Wars, when the 8 kingdoms united again against (drow) invaders and vowed on the Wyrmskull Throne to stop the infighting.
That's why I don't buy 7 kingdoms of dwarves suddendly turning stag on a vow they pledged barely 37 years prior and becoming all evil and/or chaotic just because Game of Thrones is popular.
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dazzlerdal
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Posted - 17 Sep 2018 :  09:41:21  Show Profile Send dazzlerdal a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Our "leaders" pledge to end poverty and hunger every election and their vows last only 4 years. People are people, selfish, lazy, deceitful, and that's the good ones. Those in power are truly corrupt.

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Wooly Rupert
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Posted - 17 Sep 2018 :  10:11:57  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Let's keep the real-world politics out of this, please.

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Demzer
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Posted - 17 Sep 2018 :  10:26:45  Show Profile Send Demzer a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by dazzlerdal

Our "leaders" pledge to end poverty and hunger every election and their vows last only 4 years. People are people, selfish, lazy, deceitful, and that's the good ones. Those in power are truly corrupt.



Again, dwarves are not humans, alignments are a thing in D&D, your campaign may vary but making the dwarves just another copycat of the worst politicians you can find makes for extremely dull and shallow world building.

The point of having different races and racial outlooks on every aspect of life should not be trashed so lightly, not in a rich and varied setting as FR.

"Politicians are bad" simply doesn't cut it.
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dazzlerdal
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Posted - 17 Sep 2018 :  10:43:29  Show Profile Send dazzlerdal a Private Message  Reply with Quote
It's not bad, just multifaceted.

If dwarves are driven by something different to humans then define that. At the moment in canon dwarves appear to be driven by similar base motivations as humans, they need food, wealth, s*x, social interactions, a sense of achievement.

In dwarves the need for wealth and positive social interaction and personal achievement appears to be larger than in humans. That roughly translates as a need to be honourable and to be valued by their peers for their money or achievements (whereas in humans it's A variety of things but wealth and power seem to do it for most people).
The desires for honour and to be valued can be complementary but there is definitely the possibility for dwarves to do dishonourable things to increase their achievements (especially if they think they will not get caught).

An alignment cannot prevent somebody acting contrary to that alignment, it's a childish construct if so, nobody is good all the time, they might strive to be good but in any stressful situation people can behave badly or selfishly or cowardly. Thus alignment can only be more of a preferred mode of operation. Good = put others first. Evil is put self first. Neutral is a mix of both. Even a good ruler may occasionally make a selfish decision (because he is having a really bad day) and he will likely feel awful for it. Likewise evil people can do good things just because they feel like it, they might even feel good about doing so, but they will feel better about indulging themselves later on subsequent decisions and actions.

So dwarves can have a variety of alignments like everyone else in d&d, we have no idea of the alignment composure of dwarven monarchs, more so at the time of shanatar. It is entirely possible there were some bad apple rulers as well as good and neutral. Dwarven motivations do not exclude selfish actions as they are still motivated by a need to acquire things and a need to be valued by others.

I see nothing in canon preventing intrigue and politics being present in dwarven society, in fact there are a few examples in FR history to show that it occurred. If you don't like intrigue and wish to have your dwarves behave pure and good then by all means say so and people will hopefully stop suggesting those, but the general consensus appears to be that dwarves engage in intrigue just like humans and elves and all other humanoids.

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Demzer
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Posted - 17 Sep 2018 :  11:53:30  Show Profile Send Demzer a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Are we talking in circles? Did you read all my replies in this thread? Did I say all dwarves should be lawful good comic book paladin-style idiotic characters?

One of the most defining trait of dwarves in FR (and fantasy in general) is their strict adherence to their word, they stick to their guns no matter what, even if it's clearly suicidal and the "gains" are pretty miserable. They even have a deity that's basically consuming itself to stick to its divine mission of protecting all the dwarves all the time.

I'll repeat the following for the last time:
- around -9000 DR the eight subkingdoms of Shanatar go to war against each other to expand their respective domains and they fight viciously, employing strategies (the deepspawns) that in the recorded history of FR have been used only by monsters to keep fighting, they go at it with a vengeance for about 850 years, making all human power struggles seem like tavern brawls in comparison;
- while they are still beating the s**t out of each other the drow take notice and strike at their heart, conquering Alatorin. The shock is enough for the dwarves to sign a truce, obliterate the invaders acting together and then vow to not act against each other again, realizing that in their fratricidal folly they had opened up to external attacks;
- then the Mindstalker War happen, everything we know pits Shanatar (as a whole, not this or that kingdom) against the illithids and when the dust settles, the dwarves find out that their easternmost kingdom that suffered the brunt of the attack, has been sacked and emptied;

So yes, dwarves can kill each other, war between kingdoms of dwarves for riches and power do happen and when they do they are on a scale that make the political struggles of human seem like childish games, in terms of scope, intensity, cynism of strategies used and sheer lenght in time.
But dwarves have always had a strong racial identity that automatically takes over when external forces try to harass, conquer and slay them. The response to any invasion or external threat has always been united and to the bitter end (if they fled more often, they would probably have the same number of abandoned holds but a much greater number of living dwarves at any point in history, yet they don't).

Thus, given the extremely recent history of the dwarves of Shanatar (37 years between the pledge at the reclamation of Alatorin and the start of the Mindstalker War) and what we know of their mindset in FR, it is extremely mischaracterizing to assume malice on the part of the remaining 7 kingdoms of Shanatar in absence of any clear canonical indication to the contrary.
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dazzlerdal
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Posted - 17 Sep 2018 :  12:14:11  Show Profile Send dazzlerdal a Private Message  Reply with Quote
A strong racial identity sounds like a good reason for reducing political intrigue but everyone is an individual and it may be that the racial identity is actually an identification with the strongest social structure available so for some dwarves this may manifest as a strong national identity or even a strong family identity.

Thus some of the kings may only count their own nation as worth fighting to the death for (rather than the over kingdom) and a change in kings within the 37 years may be enough for a new king to feel justified in ignoring the oaths made by his father.

It's a possibility is all

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