War Throne of Clan Bitterbones

Map of a mountain fortress built into a sheer cliff face

The ancestral citadel of Clan Bitterbones lies deep in the earth, deeper than most have heard about, much less visited. Legend says their name comes from an inherent propensity to escape death by the slimmest of margins. From a history of the Bitterbones clan, famously recorded by the cleric Gnarr Bitterbones himself:

…the progenitors of the Bitterbones line…were meticulous adventurers and daring craftsmen.…

The Bitterbones family history [is] full of tales of near-consumption, always ending with the loss of some body part and usually ending with the demise of whatever creature was trying to do the consuming. [My father] loved to carry on about the Bitterbones Hall of Ancestors, which was full of statuary that appeared to have bits broken off but were, in fact, originally constructed that way.

The precise location of their ancient hall is generally unknown, and most of the extant Bitterbones dwarves are scattered to the winds; theirs is a destiny of wanderlust and diaspora. But when the need arises, they can converge on a fortress established near the surface. Within, one will find a pale echo of the ancient Bitterbones galleries, and the war throne itself, from which great warlords have administered their campaigns.

I have an old friend and D&D player to thank for Clan Bitterbones; they were his creation, as background for Gnarr Bitterbones, the dwarven cleric in one of my campaigns years ago. The quoted text above is his work, not mine. His idea to have a clan of dwarves with various parts missing as a result of near-misses with dangerous beasts is a work of genius, and I couldn’t help but think of it when I was making this map and its galleries of statuary. So thanks, Josh, for your inspiring imagination. I like to think that Gnarr found his ancestral home in the game-that-could-have-been…

Which Bitterbones ancestor might you like to know more about? Drop me a line or hit me up on Twitter to give me your list. Follow me on Instagram for more like this, and occasional previews of upcoming work. A high-res (3600px x 2700px) version of this map is available to my patrons.

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