The Realm of Mithlome serves as the unified home of more races than any other location in the known lands. Home to the clans of the Mountain Dwarves throughout the majority of the Realm, the Hill Dwarves in the "lowlands" region at the west of the Realm, and the Rock Gnomes based primarily around Heyfalls but represented to some degree in most medium to large communities throughout Mithlome.
A mandatory period of service to the Realm forms one of the hallmarks of life Mithlome. Residents choose between four years of military service and four years of sanctified labor at the Anvil of Aglos.
Dwarven children born outside the clan system in Mithlome use the name Gond (the word for "stone" in the Dwarven language) for a family name. Gnomish children born outside marriage use the name Cog.
In the southern reaches of Mithlome there is a huge mountain which has been carved into the form of a square platform, the surfaces etched with religious sculptures. Stone is mined throughout the Realm and hauled here for the constant expansion of this holy site and restoration of older work.
The throne maintains that any beings who performs the period of holy labor working on the Anvil (regardless of race and nation of origin) may then elect to become citizens of the Realm. On a few occasions there have been humans who have earned citizenship in this way.
The Dwarves claim that their race is as old as the Elves and possibly older, but that they spent much of their time high in the mountains and therefore the other races remained ignorant of them. The Realm has existed in some form for as long as the Dwarves have maintained any sort of history, but there were periods of great internal strife and war among the clans for control until eventually Clan Stoneking was able to take control and bring the other clans into line. The Hill Dwarves maintained an independent state for a time but eventually a treaty was reached and saw the two nations unified once more.
The first arrival of the Rock Gnomes is not documented in any detail, but it is known that they came from outside the Realm and asked permission to live among the Dwarves, seeking asylum after the destruction of their homeland. Permission was granted and Rock Gnome engineers are now highly prized in many of the towns throughout Mithlome, though the largest single population of Gnomes live in Heyfalls.
Clan Stoneking holds the majority of power in the Realm, they welcome representatives of the other clans in the capital of Thombarest and hold regular meetings where they are able to bring items before the throne for consideration. The Tinker's Union of the Gnomes and the priesthood of Aglos are both said to also have a strong voice in the ear of the King.
The official state-sanctioned religion in Mithlome is the worship of Aglos, the god of the Earth and Mountains (and the patron of forges, stonework, metalsmiths and masons).
The Dwarven clans form an analogous system to the noble houses of the human lands. Some of the more influential families of Rock Gnomes have attained a sort of minor-clan status, but lack the sway or influence of the proper Dwarven clans.
The capital city of the Realm, Thombarest lies inside a hollowed out mountain. The keep of Clan Stoneking hangs like a series of massive gilded stalactites over the rest of the city, the tips of the inverted towers of the keep aglow with the magical light which washes over the city below. Since this light is even and perpetual Thombarest is sometimes called "The city of the light" or "The unblinking eye."
Since some map-makers (particularly non-Dwarves) mark Thombarest by its location and others mark various entrances to the tunnel systems that lead into the city, it's notoriously difficult for those from other nations to find without the help of a Dwarven or Rock Gnome guide through the mountains.
Lying where the foothills at the edge of The Plains meets the edge of the mountains of the Realm, Heyfalls is the site of an extensive waterfall over 400 feet tall. The town serves as the home of the single largest population of Rock Gnomes in the Realm and the site of one of their largest and greatest inventions to date: the Lock at the Falls. Through this lock barges traveling the river of the Realm or the Plains may ascend or descend from one portion to the other in (relative) safety.
It's said that the location where Heyfalls stands initially got its name from a surprised Dwarven pole boat operator who had been exploring the river and narrowly escaped the falls with his life.
Sitting deep in the southern mountains of the Realm, the Anvil of Aglos has developed a sprawling community of temporary citizens to provide the necessary infrastructure for those who choose to earn their citizenship through holy service. There are the obvious stoneworkers, miners, and construction people; but also artists, cooks, and healers to help keep the operations running smoothly.
There is also a community of Underworkers here maintaining rudimentary sewage and cleanliness tasks, extermination of vermin, and other particularly menial or dangerous tasks. The Underworkers consist of criminals who will serve the rest of their lives performing these less-than-desirable tasks to help keep the construction of the Anvil underway.
Between the mountains of the Realm and the Plains to the west there lies the Teorroca Hills, ancestral homelands of the Hill Dwarves and the adoptive homeland of the majority of the Rock Gnomes of the Realm.
The path through the mountains from Heyfalls to Thombarest is rugged but does follow a well-worn road, the bulk of which winds its way through the Bilgila Crags. The exposed cliff faces here glitter with veins of Pyrite (fool's gold) and a number of early Dwarven ancestors fell to their deaths trying to mine the worthless ore.
It's exceedingly rare for there to be any locations named by Rock Gnomes rather than by the Dwarves of the Realm.