Far to the south, past the great deserts, lay the vast mountain ranges the dwarves claim as their homeland. The highest reaches of these ranges are the Voc-Khal peaks. The great heights of these mountains are constantly battered with cold winds, and their stoic caps are frequently covered with snow.
However these inhospitable mountains are also dotted with several volcanos. These turbulent cracks in the surface of the world disgorge molten earth in a constant flow. Legend speaks of the great demon war. Envious of the grand world created by the gods for man, demons broke through the underworld, clawing their way to the surface. They emerged from the planes of beyond though these pocks of lava and fire.
The dwarves claim that to this day, the metal forged from these molten rivers still carry magic of demons and the outer worlds. The blades carry the keenest edge and armor possess the greatest resiliency. They covet the rich veins that border the steams and rivers of flowing lava. Hence, many noble families try to gain greater stature and establish a stronghold within the Vok-Khal peaks.
Such grand endeavors rarely last however. The fiery lands are rife with elemental creatures, twisted forms infused with the mystical energies that flow through the magma streams. They make infrequent raids on any keeps the industrious dwarves carve out of the mountains. It is as if they are driven by an impulse to crush any form of civilization in the peaks, and tear down any erected walls.
It is not only elemental creatures that prowl the Vok-Khal peaks, but also the cruel duergar. They are known to invade and retain holds created by dwarves. Many a dwarven family have sought to reclaim lost keeps from their evil distant kin. However, some dwarves claim that further in the depths of the fiery peaks are vast duergar cities. They had scavenged the cavernous ruins created by the old demons and made them home, further refining the rough hewn tunnels to crafted halls and deviously ingenious forges.
Although dwarven families will rarely admit this due to pride, their numbers are declining. Some still are driven to reclaim lost family holds, and reclaim past glories. This is such a strong desire, they reluctantly will hire out adventurers willing to join them in expeditions to claim lost houses. More more unscrupulous merchants are willing to aid in these risky ventures offering mercenaries. All done in hopes to secure the rights to transport any fine metalworks the dwarves create in these reclaimed holds and forges.
Others state that duergar strongholds deep within the mountains are not just rumors. These wickedly crafty humanoids have established grand forges and intricate fortresses. They covet the mystical ore as much as the dwarves, and create fine metalworks that rival their distant cousins (a claim best spoken out of earshot of any dwarf if one seeks to retain all their teeth). Such rumors are more than enough to inspire those adventurers brave enough to make the treacherous journey to the distant Voc-Khal peaks.