C L A W H A M M E R W A R
Not much is known about Chaldea prior to around a millennia ago except that the dwarves ruled the plane. In those days the dwarves primarily lived on the surface and mined for mineral wealth that was readily accessible with only modest effort. They built magnificent fortresses above their mines and had plenty of elbow room to spread out and live peacefully, with occasional tufts amongst clans, primarily over trade disputes, family lineages, and mineral rights.
And then the dragons arrived and began their great war against the dwarves. The dwarves at the time had only a modest tradition of combat, before the days of the great warrior Clanggedin, and the might of the dragons was awesome. Over the ensuing decades many of the great dwarven citadels were destroyed and their wealth plundered. But the dwarves learned quickly and retreated more deeply underground, refining their abilities at warfare, fortifications, and stonemasonry.
To step up their efforts the dragons created the kobolds, small humanoids with a fierce spirit who could easily fight in the spaces too confined for dragons. But the kobolds lacked strength and finesse and did not evolve quickly enough to suit the dragons. Realizing they needed tougher minions the dragons began scouring other planes for armies which they hired as mercenaries or simply impressed into service. Many of the mercenaries were humans or of the various humanoid varieties: orcs, goblins, ogres, ettins, dogmen, and so on. Dragons skilled at magic tapped into the enchanted nature of the Garnon Forest and other places where the veils to other planes were weak and summoned monsters to wreck havoc. The dragons also hired Tannavulins to bring populations to Chaldea in their legendary Celestial Schooners.
During this time of exploration the dwarves began to believe the threat was over until massive armies arrived and began carefully organized assaults against all of the remaining Dwarven strongholds.
When the dragons took the Throne of the Gods for their own it appeared as if all that were left was a mopping up action. And then came the great betrayal - the most prominent and powerful of the dragons rebelled against the other dragons and came to the aid of the dwarves, teaching them powerful magic. His name was Mirithian, the mithril dragon. Some say this is why dwarves love mithril beyond simply the fact that it is so rare and precious.
Mirithian ’s betrayal created a domino effect within the ranks of the dragons. Not much is known about the internal politics but apparently many of the dragons had already grown weary of the war and perhaps had forgotten even why they were fighting. Other dragons began fighting each other over territories they had won and races they had subjugated. Still other dragons seemed far more interested in various affairs they had embroiled themselves into on other planes. Some were simply content with “sleeping it off” for awhile.
This Great War between the dragons and the dwarves lasted for about one hundred years, long enough for the oldest dragons to become “ancient”. For the past 900 years many of these dragons have spawned offspring to varying degrees and sages have begun referring to the original dragons as elders. Some of these dragons began to think of themselves as above the affairs of mortals. Others remain quite fascinated by them.