ckutalik over at Hill Cantons has sent out invitations to a domain-style worldgame. The post has the particulars, and I've always loved domain gaming - we used to do it a lot when I was a kid. So without further ado, my submission for the game:
The Khalik Vahr:
"The only way that is certain is the road that runs from birth to death. All other paths are shifting stone and flowing water."
The Khalik are a nomadic, tribal dwarven society that move between surface and underground sites in great armored caravans. There are several major tribes of Khalik, and each tribe is composed of a number of semi-autonomous "Ways" or caravan-clan units that are tied together by treaties and kinship. There are also a fair number of "Lesser Ways" that are not tied directly to the major tribes, but operate as intermediaries, allies or rivals of the larger tribes.
The Wayfinders are small, detached groups, associated with the Ways, but travelling separately from them. They act as scouts, skirmishers, foragers and warbands for the Ways. Usually, Wayfinders are led and made up mainly by dwarven members of the Way they are associated with, but the dangerous, stealthy nature of the Wayfinder life means that outcasts and renegades from other races are often accepted into Wayfinder groups. Some Wayfinders also work as mercenaries, selling their services to powerful Ways. These groups are usually more highly-skilled and specialized than "regular" Wayfinders, and contain a high percentage of adventurers.
The Vahr are a Lesser Way associated with the more powerful Uhr tribe as a confederate and trading partner. The Uhr have recently suffered a catastrophic defeat at the hands of Duergar warbands, leaving the Vahr without their traditional ally and "big brother". With Duergar incursions into their traditional territories and the Uhr in disarray, the Vahr are being squeezed into less productive territories, or spending more time above-ground, which has it's own dangers.
The existence of certain caverns which lead to "Other Ways" has long been known to the Khalik, but the dangers of passing through them have always meant that they are rarely travelled. However, straightened circumstances lead to different thinking, and the Khalik Vahr are desperate enough to risk supporting an expedition into other dimensions.
Terrik Vahr, Wayfinder Captain of the Khalik Vahr.
Chitin-Plate Armor (stats as plate mail)
Terrik is one of the youngest Wayfinder Captains of the Khalik Vahr. He wears the traditional armor of the Khalik - heavy plates of giant insect carapace, painted stone-grey for camouflage, complete with a featureless grey helmet.
His skill in battle, matchless endurance and ability to recruit, motivate and delegate responsibility to his team brought Terrik to the position of Wayfinder Captain. What Terrik lacks in imagination and ability to think laterally, he makes up for with his crafty advisors and his rock-solid tenacity in pursuing a course through to the end. His Wayfinders are a motley crew, made up of members of several different races, but they work as an effective team, and have years of experience in the most brutal and pitiless environment imaginable.
The Elders of the Khalik Vahr saw Terrik as an excellent choice to lead the first expedition through the gate. Once an initial outpost has been set up, they expect to send additional groups through, as opportunities present themselves. Although the Khalik Vahr are not a large country, per-say, they make up for their relatively few numbers by being highly experienced travellers, self-sufficient, tough, and accustomed to living off of the land - both above and below the surface. They will support Terrik's expedition with resources and dwarfpower as long as they see a return on their investment - they are a practical folk, after all.