From the preface:
It has been millenia since most eyes have seen the Rublug, who crept into forgotten grottos and underground caverns to find succor against their many enemies and escape their terrible curse. Out of all the world's denizens, Rublug were perhaps the only ones who could have felt at home within a world of damp rock and cold stone, for the rhythm of the earth itself ran in their blood, the rigidity of gutrock sustained their forms. Their ability to navigate in darkness is not mere whimsy: I have seen Rublug wander the blackest tunnels of their homes as confidently as if they were not wandering at all.
Whether due to hidden aggression, constant oppression, or an inborn artistry expressed through battle, the Rublug are known as creators of mighty arms -- including the legendary Runeweapons from the first and second Ages. Even their common armor and weapons far exceed the quality and detail of other cultures' battle implements. Their skill is almost too perfect: Though I have long wanted to see a Rublug craftsman transform raw ore into a weapon of surpassing beauty, I finally lost patience and continued my travels when I realized the Runemaster I observed would take years to satisfactorily finish his work.
As rigid as the rock in which they dwell, Rublug possess a strict and sacred code of discipline and honor never to be breached without guilt and shame. They are as loyal to their kith as Neuonians are to their own parents, and the kith take parental responsibility for birthing, raising, and teaching the younger members. The life of the kith is the life of the community, and thus of the Rublug themselves. One must never forsake one's kith, at risk of rejecting one's own heritage.
Rublug worship a deity known as Ardornella, also called Defender and Protector -- a sensible choice, considering how much they have suffered over the centuries at the hands of others. Of course, we once knew Ardornella under a different name. A small sect of worshipers (called the Kor) remember this older deity, naming it "The One" and waiting for the day when it will use them to reunite all dwarven peoples. Although being exposed as a follower of The One could breed exile or death, Kor followers are steadfast and do not recant their faith.
As we knew previously, the Rublug were sealed from the Imperial Homelands of World's Crown at the end of the Age of Myth. Begrudging elder mages cursed their kind to explode into flames if they were ever again touched by the sun's hot rays, and so they fled into the mountain depths to escape their doom. Although the curse only held sway during daylight, the night was also dangerous, for grobber roamed the darkness and devoured all who crawled from their holes. Driven from their surface home, Rublug established a new abode for themselves and forgot the old.
Most Rublug still fear the sun and its curse and would never dare to leave the dark subterranean tunnels. Yet a few brave souls have recently discovered that even the most powerful curses do not last forever. These adventurers have taken their first steps into sunlit places and discovered something they have not felt for a long while: Freedom. Perhaps it will not be long before Rublug once more become part of the world that they were driven from so many years ago.