The Slow Death of Kzhabar
On the island of Barduum, the Dwarven Empire of Kzhabar was once renown for its golden age. The Iron King’s rule provided peace and prosperity to all of Barduum. His subjects ejoyed unparalleled wealth, culture and security. Dangerous tribes of Goblin-kin were either driven beyond the frontier by Dwarven armies or lured into the embrace of civilization. Not even the Elven Kingdoms were able to stop the success of the ever-expanding Dwarven armies, although they were never formally absorbed into the Empire.
Nearly a thousand years of prosperity and power have slowly eaten away at Dwarven culture, and has twisted their sense of duty with a powerful greed and lust of wealth. Corruption and crime saturates the empire and grows stronger every day. Politics and vendettas drive deep wedges between powerful clans, which occasionally flare into hostilities... or outright civil war.
In order to support the rot in the heart of Kzhabar, frontier provinces have been heavily taxed and left to fend for themselves. For decades, provinces has been seceding from the empire and attempt forging their own destiny, struggling to be independent and survive the times when Kzhabar finally collapses into ruin. Many of these new kingdoms in Barduum need to fight to survive, but often it seems like for every successful province there is another that has fallen into ruin.
Carronnian Migration and Colonization
A hundred years ago, a terrible cataclysm destroyed the distant land of Carronne. Shortly afterwards, Carronnian survivors and refugees arrived in Bardunn and paid handsomely to the clan elders of Kzhabar clans in the hopes of settling on this new land. The elders were more than happy to trade poor quality and/or Goblin-kin infested land in exchange for vast sums of wealth, and thus New Carronne was born.
What began a small trickle of survivors soon grew into large numbers of Carronnian settlers establishing, securing, and expanding their new communities in the hinterlands ignored by Kzhabar. By the time the Dwarves started paying closer attention to the new colonies springing up in their land, the largest settlements in New Carronne were small kingdoms in their own right, and not something easily displaced by an empire about to descend into another civil war.
Despite their success in building a new home, the Carronnians are not a united people. Carronnians comprise a number of different races, beliefs and cultures - not all of which are sympathetic to each other. Various settlements of New Carronne have indeed grown large enough to expand, however they squabble amongst themselves as much as they do with the various independent kingdoms of Barduum, the Elven Kingdoms, and the Goblin-kin tribes.
At Kzhabar’s height, Dwarven armies drove monsters (such as ogres, trolls, and minotaurs) far from civilization, protected travelers from banditry, and built numerous border fortresses and settlements. As Kzhabar’s strength waned, its borders have continually contracted and left ruins, bandits and monsters in its wake. Many abandoned communities still contain valuables and wealth that would greatly enrich the many kingdoms throughout Barduum... although they are typically deep in the wilderness, protected by ancient Dwarven traps, and within the territory of monsters that prowl the land.