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A History of Dwarves
Dwarven Characteristics

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While working in the mines, under threat of orc and troll attacks, the dwarves developed a subtle but intricate form of communication. The foes were skilled enough to discover the source of spoken voices, which gave them a chance at finding the dwarves amidst miles of underground tunnels. Cavernous environments will cause voices to echo, whereas grunting is absorbed into the rock. It was equally clever and necessary.

Over the centuries, influenced by climate and chosen craft, the dwarves developed physical attributes that set them apart as clans. The northern clans are usually of a paler complexion. During the summer months, when the sun is warm, they work deep beneath the mountains, mining veniom and other metals. During the winters, while they ply their craft, dark clouds hide the sun. Their beards tend to be very thick and unkempt, due perhaps to a need for additional warmth-though perhaps their isolation from other races contributes to the cause. Unlike the other clans, these dwarves will be found to practice more magic and to wear more furs and pelts, as opposed to the metal armors characteristic of most dwarves.

The mountain and mining clans tend to have a heartier appearance. Thick muscled and ruddy skinned, these dwarves spend easily eight to twelve hours a day in the mines. They are the fondest of ale and dwarven brotherhood and are also the least patient in matters of war. Hardened by centuries of threat from underground beasts, the Mountain clans are slow to trust, they make the most loyal allies because they regard the bond of brotherhood as the true essence of their race, the source of their unquenchable spirit. Most of the mountain clans do not practice magic, needing only the magic found within the metals they mine. Some may learn simple incantations, simply to ease the task at hand, but many more will frown upon magic as the tool of the self-destructive Races.

The Wandering and the Western Clans are the most entrepreneurial of the dwarven Clans. Traveling where profits can be made from their skill, they are far more likely to leave a town once its mine is no longer viable, or when their skills are not in demand. Not particularly trusting of the other races, they are nonetheless receptive to the wealth to be made from them. Of all the Clans, these dwarves have the benefit of living closer to large cities and therefore are a bit more refined, as dwarves go. Their beards are often neatly trimmed, and their garments are often lavishly accessorized with intricate metal and gem work. Their weapons and armors are meticulously kept, decorated with ornate detail and lavishly set with gems.

Still as hearty as their mining kin, these dwarves will often be found within a town's local pubs, comparing notes on the day's profits and grunting jokes about those sitting nearby. Many more magic users are found amongst these Clans, having more exposure to wealth, and therefore access to the higher-ranking officials of a given town. (The Western schools in the Turammzyrian Empire where magic is taught often charge exorbitant fees to teach non-Humans incantations. Often the dwarves gain access to these exclusive schools by their "merchant" relationships with the local Barons.) Others of these Clans are more likely to join the local militias, bands of pirates, clergies and other such affiliations where their skills are not only needed but also valued - and, of course, where a profit can be made.

Religion

Eonak is considered the Patron of the dwarves. The dwarves consider him their only true deity, above any and all other Arkati. It is common in most daily tasks to give praise or thanks to Eonak, and in moments of great need, to call to Eonak for assistance. The dwarves attribute their survival, their skill and their strength to Eonak's blessings. While some may study paths of the other Arkati, it is rare to find a dwarf that does not have the most reverent respect towards Eonak. Most dwarven cities contain monumental temples, altars and libraries dedicated to the Arkati of the forge. Many of those cities, too, will contain a smaller temple or altar to Imaera as well, as she is oft regarded as Eonak's companion.

There are some dwarven priests who have intricate ceremony and rituals to Eonak. But, for the most part, Eonak is not considered imperious, and while it is suggested that respects should be paid, the impression left with this scholar is that basic respect and thanks is satisfactory to the dwarf's Arkati.

Clan / Family Life

The physical make up of dwarves is such that it is impossible for dwarves to have children with any other race. (There is no doubt in this scholar's mind that such things have been attempted, considering the flow of ale throughout the dwarven cities, but I could find no proof of any half-dwarfs in all my studies and travels.) There is little difference in stature between a dwarven male and female. Within the cities themselves, the females work beside the males in the mines, in the shops, and so forth. A dwarven female is no less stout or spirited then her male counterpart.

In dwarven families, the task of raising children is split between both parents. They will alternate days or weeks away from their professional tasks to tend to their children. Dwarves are a passionate race, and some families boast as many as ten children in the relatively short life span of a dwarf. It is very uncommon to break marriage vows, as the dwarves are a loyal race. They will often marry young, and take unto them a "life partner" - someone they share all their tasks with, whether mining, forging or going forth into battle.

The nightly gathering of dwarves in a Great Hall is considered a mandatory practice, especially amongst the Clans in the UnderGrounds. It is here that the children are taught the tales of their Clan, as the parents and the other adults share brotherhood and camaraderie. The dwarven affinity for ale transcends all things. There is rarely a dispute amongst dwarves that cannot be settled over a stein.

Individual families within each Clan will usually possess one or several heirloom items. Once a dwarf reaches maturity-that age when they are considered fit to marry and to go to work in the mines-the family holds a great festival to bestow the "Manhood" or "Womanhood" heirloom to this new adult. This gift is accompanied by a small ceremony honoring Eonak, followed by a tale of the history of the particular heirloom. Depending on the clan, the heirloom might be a shield, a weapon, a suit of armor, or an ornate piece of jewelry. To insult the family or clan by disparaging one of its heirlooms will likely result in your death.

To this day, especially in the UnderGrounds, dwarven towns boast what remains of Khazi Khazar's legacy: the "Vardaras" (great horn) and the "Tholtinco" (great bell). The Clans still respond to the signals they produce by waking, or gathering, or arming for war. These simple instruments tell the tale of what sets the dwarves apart from all other races: A clear ringing faith, strength, brotherhood, and an unmatched spirit that transcends battle, hardship, and politics.

 

 

 



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