The cursed city, its name a whisper rarely spoken among civilized dwarves. Thalbos has long been a cautionary tale about the excesses that are possible to achieve through too much reliance on technology: the dwarves there delved too deep, and unearthed things that would best have been left buried. Driven mad, their clan split from dwarven society, becoming the Duergar. This example is often used as a counter-argument against those who wish to allow more technology into the dwarven strongholds in the Crestheart Mountains. Many younger members of the clans, especially the Waykeeper and Thundersong clans, consider this a pointless argument. They believe that dwarves have learned their lesson from Thalbos, and that they can incorporate technology without endangering themselves and others. Still, the elders take it slow, and have only recently established ties with the Artificer’s Guild at the central stronghold of Glimspire.
A tale told to Duergar children:
In ancient times, the Duergar used to be like the ordinary Dwarves. They lived in Thalbos, which was prized for it’s briliant inventors and relentless workers. There was a feeling one got when in Thalbos, as if the city itself were inspiring you towards greatness. The Thalbotians were atop some of the richest mountains in all of the Cresthearts, and mined with a passion. Through the years, this passion turned to a sort of zealotry; the miners turned away from Moradin and worshiped the ground that they were digging. Soon the miners only talked in whispers, and never to city-folk. When Clan Duergar stopped sending their minerals back to Thalbos, the council sent Deepwardens to investigate.
None who were there spoke of the Night of the Open Eye, but we know that the Thalbos sank into the mountain. Of the Dwarves who escaped Thalbos, most had gone insane and began murdering at random. Fires from deep within the Earth were released and continue to burn all around the city. While Clan Duergar remained in the Deep, the survivors of Thalbos, those that escaped the insanity, were altered in such a way that they were cast out from Dwarven society and labeled as the Duergar.
Over the centuries, most all of the Duergar have started to hear ‘That Which Sleeps Beneath’. It beckons them into the Deep. The stories are told of the Night of the Open Eye to warn against delving too deep.
During the War of the Pebbles, a band of adventurers came to Thalbos, seeking the great powers that lie beneath the rock. Despite warnings from the Duergar, the adventurers went down to the Deep. Of the 12 Dwarven Nobles that went, only 4 came back. One had made himself blind to escape the horrors that he witnessed. These heroes vowed to let no more of their kind travel to this cursed place, and with the help of the Duegar put up nearly impegnetrable barriers outside of the city. It is rumored that they left many of their finest soldiers to guard the door….