The Stockwood Scrolls
Outside the South, shield dwarves far outnumber their cousins. Taller and heavier than gold dwarves, shield dwarves are fair-skinned, with hair ranging from brown to blond, and red being the most common. Blue and hazel are the predominant eye colors.
Shield dwarves don’t use the stylized goods of their southern kin, but they are no shirkers when it comes to quality. Peerless craftsfolk, they forge some of the strongest weapons and armor in all the lands. Each piece bears a maker’s mark to denote its crafter, often placed on the business end of hammers and similar bludgeons. As such, these weapons literally leave a stamp on their victims.
The mightiest shield dwarf citadels are in the far North, close to the Spine of the World mountains. While the days of dwarven empire are long behind them, the relics of old Delzoun and other empires still pervade the Underdark of the North. Some of the surface citadels of Delzoun in fact still stand today, such as Citadel Adbar, Citadel Felbarr, and Sundabar. The shield dwarven realm of Iltkazar also still lives on in the southwest of Faerûn beneath the surface nation of Tethyr. The legendary lost capital of Delzoun, Gauntlgrym, was reclaimed in 1486 DR by a combined effort of shield dwarves descended from that ancient nation. Another great dwarven enclave in the North is Mithral Hall, though it was founded after the fall of the old kingdoms.
The first shield dwarves were those that left the first great dwarven kingdom of Bhaerynden to found the realm of Shanatar in Faerûn’s west. That realm lasted for millennia before falling to drow and duergar incursions (and in fact saw the creation of the duergar race). Before its fall in -3900 DR however, many splinter dwarven realms expanded out of it, the longest lived of which was that of Delzoun which lasted until -100 DR. The Kingdom of Iltkazar, a splinter of Shanatar, still survives today, but most of the other dwarven holdings are the offshoots of ruined Delzoun in the North.