Confused by the origin of the Dwarves (Quest for Sky)


Lost Omens Campaign Setting General Discussion

Horizon Hunters

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This is a copy and paste of a post I made on Reddit just so maybe people who only use this forum can help answer my question, thanks!

According to LO: World Guide, Highhelm was the first and greatest Sky Citadel. But in LO: Legends it says that Koldukar was the first Sky Citadel and it was where Taargick saw the sky for the first time.

Look:

LO: Legends "The first Sky Citadel to be designed was Koldukar, built at one of the sites where the dwarves emerged onto the surface of Golarion. Taargick himself surfaced and saw the sky for the first time at this location, and he intended to make it the center of the kingdom of Tar Taargadth. It was from here Taargick ruled over the nation that bore his name during the height of its success." (p. 103)

LO: World Guide "Thus they built Highhelm, the first and greatest of their Sky Citadels, finding safety and familiarity in its stone halls and clever fortifications. From here, the kingdom of Tar Taargadth spread across the surface of Avistan, growing powerful and fruitful during the Age of Anguish." (p. 125)

Which of the books should I consider as the true origin of the dwarves?

Update!

This was taken from the timeline of the Eye of Dread and Shining Kingdoms regions respectively: (Source LO: World Guide)

–3708 ar The orc warlord Belkzen conquers the Sky Citadel of Koldukar and renames it Urgir.

–318 ar The dwarves of Tar Taargadth establish Highhelm, the first Sky Citadel.


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I'm pretty sure the -318 AR founding of Highhelm is an old error from the early days of Golarion, before the Quest for Sky was properly established. I think we can safely ignore it. The Quest for Sky was supposed to have come to fruition in -4987, so any source which suggests that the 'first' Sky Citadel is over 4500 years younger seems to be in error. Likely a copying error crept in compiling old timelines for the World Guide.

However, in establishing which of the Sky Citadels came first, I would say it doesn't seem to matter very much, but I would err on the side of Legends. That seems to be the source most corroborated by details (the place where Taargick first saw sky, etc.) and doesn't have the spectre of old canon errors hanging over it.


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Clearly, this is an in-setting patriotic argument. The proud folk of Highhelm want to be important and refuse to believe orcs could steal the first prize of their Quest for Sky, so revisionist history saves the day :p

Sibelius does seem to have the right of it. The only thing of any substance I have to add is that the first Sky Citadel of Tar Taargadth might not be the first dwarven Sky Citadel built, given that Cloudspire doesn't seem to be affiliated from anything we currently know and that Arcadia has dwarves of its own. While it doesn't directly apply here, I wouldn't be certain that Taargick's breakthrough was the first.


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So, all sky citadels were made after -4987 AR. There was a total of 10 built and only 6 survive to the modern age.

Tar Taargadth was founded in -5133 AR and collapsed in 1551 AR.

The first Sky citadel to be established was Koldukar, now known as Urgir.

The second Sky citadel was Dongun Hold.

Kraggodan was established in -4901 AR.

Spiro Spero is probably a proto Sky Citadel, or a case of mistaken identity. Given how much in fighting there was during those 300 years, it's not unthinkable that a small group split and pushed forward regardless. Taargick's breakthrough is guaranteed to the first for Tar Taargadth as a nation: This is similar to how Vikings were the first Europeans to visit the Americas, but Columbus is credited with discovering it 400 years later.

The wiki states that -318 AR was when Highhelm was established, so LO:WG is right about that. But it states right there that in what you posted that it "grew during the age of anguish" which dates from -4294 AR to -3471 AR. so even if you add an extra 0 the date of -318 AR doesn't line up. Even if you said that "Koldukar was just the first to be purposely designed" it wouldn't make sense given how Taargick's wiki entry states Koldukar was the first to be built.

So as yeah, it's probably a continuity error given the original source for the event and date is Guide to Darkmoon Vale (2008).


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Temperans wrote:
So, all sky citadels were made after -4987 AR. There was a total of 10 built and only 6 survive to the modern age.

We’re actually up to 8 now; Cloudspire in the Mwangi Expanse (home to the Mbe’ke, never lost but only introduced in 2e) and Jormurdun in the Sarkoris Scar (found, cleared, and retaken by the Pathfinder Society about eight years ago).

Wayfinders

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I have to wonder if Paizo is going to stick to the "there were only ever ten (10) Sky Citadels" or if they'll quietly drop in favor of giving themselves (and by extension, the playerbase) a bit more flexibility - it's near certain there's at least one Sky Citadel in Arcadia (we know there's dwarves there, likely sharing the place with orcs that the Arcadian dwarves are on good terms with), and that basically leaves one wildcard left, which is slightly awkward, especially since so many of the citadels are clustered around the Inner Sea.


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RiverMesa wrote:
I have to wonder if Paizo is going to stick to the "there were only ever ten (10) Sky Citadels" or if they'll quietly drop in favor of giving themselves (and by extension, the playerbase) a bit more flexibility - it's near certain there's at least one Sky Citadel in Arcadia (we know there's dwarves there, likely sharing the place with orcs that the Arcadian dwarves are on good terms with), and that basically leaves one wildcard left, which is slightly awkward, especially since so many of the citadels are clustered around the Inner Sea.

I'd sooner they commit to it, presumably tossing a final Sky Citadel into Casmaron somewhere. It's fun to imagine that dwarves are primarily local to Avistan and Garund.


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I don't really like authorial statements like "there are only x [foo]" generally. It's better to phrase things like "Dwarven Historians believe there were only 10 Sky Citadels" since it's not like Dwarves have the ability to know what Dwarves on other continents are getting up to any more than Humans have the ability to know what Humans on other continents are getting up to.


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I mean, for all we know, Sky Citadels might just not be a thing outside of Avistan and northern Garund. What we know about dwarves in Arcadia already implies a different history there.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
PossibleCabbage wrote:
I don't really like authorial statements like "there are only x [foo]" generally. It's better to phrase things like "Dwarven Historians believe there were only 10 Sky Citadels" since it's not like Dwarves have the ability to know what Dwarves on other continents are getting up to any more than Humans have the ability to know what Humans on other continents are getting up to.

That's where I'm leaning. I wouldn't be at all surprised to learn that there are no Sky Citadels outside the Inner Sea. I also wouldn't be surprised about Sky Citadels existing outside the Inner Sea (whether explicitly called that or not*), but those would be cases of parallel evolution. I wouldn't count them as part of the Inner Sea 10.

*-- Just because they would exist doesn't mean that they'd be called that. For example: the hypothetical Arcadian Sky Citadels could have been named by orcs instead. Personally, I hope that the Arcadian SC's have dwarves and orcs coexisting just to drive home the differences in historical development.

Liberty's Edge

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I now want Arcadia to have a Drow surface settlement. The bigger, the better.


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The Raven Black wrote:
I now want Arcadia to have a Drow surface settlement. The bigger, the better.

I’m sold.


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The Raven Black wrote:
I now want Arcadia to have a Drow surface settlement. The bigger, the better.

Perhaps located in the shade of some tremendous mushroom which shelters their twilight city from the harsh sunlight that they've learned to tolerate but don't yet love. Soft bioluminescence abounds.


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Sibelius Eos Owm wrote:
The Raven Black wrote:
I now want Arcadia to have a Drow surface settlement. The bigger, the better.
Perhaps located in the shade of some tremendous mushroom which shelters their twilight city from the harsh sunlight that they've learned to tolerate but don't yet love. Soft bioluminescence abounds.

And the beautiful night markets that unfurl out to the horizon after sundown...

Dark Archive

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I mean, drow's whole thing of being underground elves would feel as weird as duergar or deep gnome surface settlement.

How about more of real life underground cities sort of dealio where city is still built underground but not in darklands?


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I could see some underground people living under the overhangs of cliffs, like the Anasazi in the Southwest. Basically every non-magical way of "avoiding the sun" works about the same way.


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CorvusMask wrote:

I mean, drow's whole thing of being underground elves would feel as weird as duergar or deep gnome surface settlement.

How about more of real life underground cities sort of dealio where city is still built underground but not in darklands?

The American Southwest has some awesome caves that could be riffed on for this. I went to Carlsbad Caverns as a kid and it blew my mind. There's also those cool ancient Pueblo houses carved into cliff faces!

But for what it's worth, I don't think "being underground" is a core part of the Drow identity. Eberron has had the Vulkoori drow in surface jungles since forever and the world didn't end.


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I don't think there is any value in making Drows *not* "people who want to avoid the sun". You can do that, but you could also make Halflings that are 8 feet tall and live on the moon.

You can change any one thing into something else, but there's not always a good reason to do that.

If we need people to live in neat caves somewhere, I would prefer "some sort of person that we've never heard of before" (like the Shisk or the Goloma) to a type of person we've seen and already know what they're about.


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PossibleCabbage wrote:

I don't think there is any value in making Drows *not* "people who want to avoid the sun". You can do that, but you could also make Halflings that are 8 feet tall and live on the moon.

You can change any one thing into something else, but there's not always a good reason to do that.

If we need people to live in neat caves somewhere, I would prefer "some sort of person that we've never heard of before" (like the Shisk or the Goloma) to a type of person we've seen and already know what they're about.

You can avoid the sun without living underground, was the point I was trying to make. Drow who deal with that curse by means other than living in the Darklands is a novel narrative space, and at this point I am dying for Drow to feel novel again.

A good mix of the completely new (Wyrwoods, Klinkois, Syrinx) and the recontextualized familiar (Dwarves and Orcs being pals, these hypothetical 'surface Drow') helps give each continent an identity that still fits into wider Golarion. Tian Xia still has Jinin and Kaoling, y'know?


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CorvusMask wrote:
I mean, drow's whole thing of being underground elves would feel as weird as duergar or deep gnome surface settlement.

Arguably, the same could once have been said of dwarves. Dwarves, they live underground, known for mining and loving gold. And yet Golarion has had surface-dwelling dwarves for a long time now. I see no reason why there can't be drow who settle part of the surface. The orcs did it after the Quest For Sky.


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I think what needs to happen is that we need to drill down to what actually defines the Drow, since apparently the "Cavern Elf" heritage is different from "being a Drow." A group of of Elves who lived underground for a while and who now live above ground is all well and good, but why do we need to make them Drow instead of another kind of Elf? Like the Jinin are not Drow, or are they?


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PossibleCabbage wrote:
I think what needs to happen is that we need to drill down to what actually defines the Drow, since apparently the "Cavern Elf" heritage is different from "being a Drow." A group of of Elves who lived underground for a while and who now live above ground is all well and good, but why do we need to make them Drow instead of another kind of Elf? Like the Jinin are not Drow, or are they?

I can't claim to be up to date on all things drow, but my perception is that the thing which defines drow compared to, say, cavern-adapted elves, is the shared heritage of being exposed to Rovagug's awakening when the Starstone struck. As I understand, elf physiology slightly adapts to their environment over decades and this interacted with Rovagug's psychic impulse to produce the drow as we know them. Now, turning to demon worship is one response to this legacy embraced by the Sub-Avestani drow, but in another place perhaps the drow responded to the trauma in other ways, perhaps even with demon hunting traditions like the Garundi orcs and Kyonin elves.


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A surface drow society sounds like trying to change drow into something they are not. Their entire physiology is built for being underground as is the case with most things that have light sensitivity by default.

Also there is 0 reasons to use drow and drow lore that are not from Pathfinder and the Golarion setting, so why did that get brought up? Its like saying that halflings should behave different because that is not how Tolkien wrote them, or that orcs should be pigs because that is how Japanese orc are portrayed, or that elves should stop being space alien with alien faces because 90% of elfs in other settings look like humans with long ears.


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Btw Jinning are indeed not drow. The Jinning went wide to find the mithral tree, but the drow went deep and got warped by the darklands as a whole. This is the same as dwarfs who went for the surface and tended to live near the top of the darklands, compared to druegar who were deeper.

Its always the same thing: The deeper into the darklands the more evil creatures tend to be. There might be some exceptions, but that's what they are exceptions.

*********************

And before anyone starts any BS because people love to do that, no it has nothing to do with skin color. Druegar (evil dwarfs) are ashen gray and Morlocks (inbred darkland humans) are pale white.


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Temperans wrote:

Btw Jinning are indeed not drow. The Jinning went wide to find the mithral tree, but the drow went deep and got warped by the darklands as a whole. This is the same as dwarfs who went for the surface and tended to live near the top of the darklands, compared to druegar who were deeper.

Its always the same thing: The deeper into the darklands the more evil creatures tend to be. There might be some exceptions, but that's what they are exceptions.

*********************

And before anyone starts any BS because people love to do that, no it has nothing to do with skin color. Druegar (evil dwarfs) are ashen gray and Morlocks (inbred darkland humans) are pale white.

Jinin's (one N in the middle, no G) folk did not "go wide," they literally popped out on the opposite side of Golarion - IIRC, traveling from the Mierani Forest in Avistan to where their nation is today in Tian Xia.

I'm not sure what point you're trying to make about depth = evil. There's already precedent for non-Evil Drow and non-Evil Darklands ancestries.

Nobody's talking about skin tone here but you.


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Temperans wrote:

Btw Jinning are indeed not drow. The Jinning went wide to find the mithral tree, but the drow went deep and got warped by the darklands as a whole. This is the same as dwarfs who went for the surface and tended to live near the top of the darklands, compared to druegar who were deeper.

Its always the same thing: The deeper into the darklands the more evil creatures tend to be. There might be some exceptions, but that's what they are exceptions.

*********************

And before anyone starts any BS because people love to do that, no it has nothing to do with skin color. Druegar (evil dwarfs) are ashen gray and Morlocks (inbred darkland humans) are pale white.

Indeed, it would be strange to talk about skin colour since drow were a delightful shade of lavender last I saw. Regardless, there's no reason that a society if drow living in or near the surface in Arcadia should have the same leaning toward evil as those who still live in the Darklands. Whether a given Darklands faction being good or evil is an exception to the rule strikes me as more or less irrelevant since these drow would not necessarily still be a part if the same milieu that fosters and encourages such hostility in the Darklands. After all, all humanoid creatures are equally capable of choosing good or evil, law or chaos, so a surface society if lawful good drow in Arcadia is an equally possible incarnation as any other which we can discover narrative justification for.


Earthfall was 10,000 years ago. Acting like no group of Drow could've ever poked their heads up in that time is a little silly. When we've already seen multiple individuals and groups of Drow leave behind their "traditional" demonic ways on/below the Inner Sea, I don't think another batch finding a new home in distant Arcadia is too far-fetched.


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I just don't know what you get by having the Drow in Arcadia instead of a different kind of elf that we don't know much about yet. To me it seems like the latter is just much more interesting.


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PossibleCabbage wrote:
I just don't know what you get by having the Drow in Arcadia instead of a different kind of elf that we don't know much about yet. To me it seems like the latter is just much more interesting.

I mean, we've never seen surface Drow anywhere before. Why would new Elves be more interesting than new Drow?


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Because ordinary Elves are more interesting than Drow?


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PossibleCabbage wrote:
Because ordinary Elves are more interesting than Drow?

Ordinary Elves are more interesting than Drow because Elves have been allowed to have variety. Let there be more to them than just "the crazy demon cultists who live underground" and I'm sure they won't be so boring anymore.


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This feels like the old Paladin arguments. Doesn't "Drow" mean "an elf who was underground during Earthfall that was corrupted by Rovagug's awakening?"

I just don't understand why there is so much interest in "putting the Drow in places that are not where we know they are and making them different than we know they are" when there is not similar interest in doing the same with like the Duergar or the Svirfneblin?

I like Dwarves much more than Elves and I would prefer to see "another, heretofore unseen kind of Dwarf" than "surface Duergar who are unlike their Darklands kin."


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PossibleCabbage wrote:
This feels like the old Paladin arguments. Doesn't "Drow" mean "an elf who was underground during Earthfall that was corrupted by Rovagug's awakening?"

That's the Drow's origin ten millennia before the current day, yes - doesn't Dwarf mean "little bearded miners from the Darklands?" And yet, we have the Taralu being surface nomad-diplomats who revere cloud dragons. I don't understand this firm resistance to an Ancestry being anything other than the narrowest definition of itself.

Quote:

I just don't understand why there is so much interest in "putting the Drow in places that are not where we know they are and making them different than we know they are" when there is not similar interest in doing the same with like the Duergar or the Svirfneblin?

I like Dwarves much more than Elves and I would prefer to see "another, heretofore unseen kind of Dwarf" than "surface Duergar who are unlike their Darklands kin."

Probably because there's decades of media selling how cool the Drow are to folks, but pretty much nothing trying to make the Duergar or Svirfneblin feel similarly shiny. You might not care much for Elves or Drow, but you can't deny their popularity with lots of other fantasy nerds.

The Pahmet are wildly distinct from the Kulenett, neither of whom would be mistaken for the Mbe'ke or the Dongun. Why not afford Drow the same variety?


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Because drow already has a lot of that variety in their 10 houses, that just needs to be expanded upon instead of just making a new group that Drow that no one ever knew about until just now. It's the same reason that asking for native Dwarf in a new region doesn't make sense when the lore already says dwarf are from a specific area.

Regarding Jinin, I always get the spelling of that confused, don't know why I just do. I said they went wide, because they physically cannot go through the core of the planet. Not only is going through the center of the planet physically impossible without some extreme magic/tech, that journey would have made them into drow by the very nature of Rovagug being at the core. Thus, the only possible path they have is moving through the crust long way around, thus "wide".

Because Earthfall was 10,000 years ago is that we have a set up veritable drow empire in the darklands. It just doesn't make sense to try and say that there is now another different society of drows that are good when the very lore explicitly says,

Drow AONPRD 2e wrote:
The drow are infamous throughout the world, but until recently most assumed stories of demon-worshipping, underground-dwelling elves were spooky legends crafted to share around a campfire. Today, the existence of drow is an understood truth, and while their presence in the dark caverns deep below is unsettling, they seem content to leave the surface world alone for now.

nWe are talking about a group that will at best banish the ones that dare to think different and at worse will transform them via fleshwarping.

Also note I am not saying that there aren't good drow, or that they can't be part of other societies. But by the very nature of their biology just like with Skeletons, they trend towards evil and anything that is not evil is the exception not the rule.

**************************

Having said all of that, Arcadia is a unique continent, and it would much better if Paizo focused on their unique inhabitants than trying to shoehorn a way to have dwarfs, drow, etc. when they have no business being there.

Like you know, Syrinxes that somehow have less lore than Strixes.

Grand Lodge

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Temperans wrote:
A surface drow society sounds like trying to change drow into something they are not. Their entire physiology is built for being underground as is the case with most things that have light sensitivity by default.

Light sensitivity automatically equates to living underground? It could simply be the mark of a nocturnal species that prefers to sleep during daylight hours. Earth has plenty of those.

Vampires are utterly destroyed by sunlight, does that automatically make them cave-dwellers?


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Arutema wrote:
Temperans wrote:
A surface drow society sounds like trying to change drow into something they are not. Their entire physiology is built for being underground as is the case with most things that have light sensitivity by default.

Light sensitivity automatically equates to living underground? It could simply be the mark of a nocturnal species that prefers to sleep during daylight hours. Earth has plenty of those.

Vampires are utterly destroyed by sunlight, does that automatically make them cave-dwellers?

Vampires are not cave dwellers because they tend to be humans who feed on humans. Vampires would love it if humans were to decided to go live underground.

As for light sensitivity I meant it in the context of Pathfinder were light blindness is usually (to not say always) given to creatures that live in the darklands or deep oceans (Caligni): There are like 1 or two exceptions at least right now. While it is true that IRL nocturnal creatures would have something like that, it is not the case in Pathfinder.


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I personally don't want to see Drow at all until we get a book on the Darklands.

It doesn't really make sense to do an entry on an ancestry that's not:
- An ancestry you find in a lot of different places.
- In a book about a place where the overwhelming majority of them live.

Like if they do an Ancestry Guide 2 then you can put the Drow in there sure, but the first place we see them in a setting book shouldn't be a "heretofore unknown group in this place."


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Drow discussion probably deserves its own thread at this point, as none of us are talking about the Quest for Sky now.


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PossibleCabbage wrote:


If we need people to live in neat caves somewhere, I would prefer "some sort of person that we've never heard of before" (like the Shisk or the Goloma) to a type of person we've seen and already know what they're about.

If we want people living in neat surface-level caves in Arcadia, the cliff giants from 1e Bestiary 4 seem tailor-made for the role, and I can't recall any mention of them anywhere else in lore.

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