• Dwarves

    (dwa-rv-s)

    While many believe the dwarves are one of the elder races, this is not the case. They were born from the love of a human man and an Eten woman; their children were the fathers of the dwarves, and they bred true, their kin all bearing the same stout frame and resilient constitutions. At first surface dwellers, they worked their smithcraft on the mountainsides above their mines until a series of great storms (called the Week of Great Thunders, the closest thing to a holy week the dwarves have- they work extra hard in it) nearly drove them to ruin, the great winds and driving rains devastating their service holdings with an eldritch fury. However, the dwarves are a sturdy people. Rather than abandon their homes, they dug in. Literally. Working their clanholds into the exhausted portions of their mines. This shielded them from the mountain storms, and over time (especially as this proved to be a fine defense against invasion, as well) it became tradition. Dwarven citadels do not rise up; they sink downwards in ever deeper levels of stone-crafted and steel-girded intricacy.

    An aggressively expansionist people, they have had many battles with the gnomes, who share a similar territory. The conflict between the gnomes and the dwarves has lasted generations, and is a long and bloody tale. They fought no less than six wars before the Mages' Folly, and to this day dwarves tend to view the gnomes with a barely contained animosity, convinced that the gnomes helped sell them out to the Mages. This bitterness runs very deep, and is revealed in the horrible insult “Gnome-kin.” It is rare for a dwarf to make friends with a gnome.

    The dwarves did not fare well in the war of Mages' Folly. They were occupied, the mages ruling them through the iron fist of the golem. They were forced to work in the mines to provide their erstwhile masters with precious metals while the mages looted and plundered their homes, all the while forcing dwarven craftsmen (considered by dwarves to be the finest metalworkers in the world) to forge weapons, armor, and the very shackles that bound them. After their initial resistance was crushed, the dwarves appeared to become model, hard-working servants: but it was only a ruse.

    In secret, the dwarves developed a powder which, when detonated in hand-held bombs, disrupted mages, allowing the dwarves to seize control of their homes once more and drive the mages back. Suddenly the bombs were everywhere, and the “ka-boombs” of their explosion was followed by the percussive report of Dwarvish muskets, and the scything sweep of Dwarvish Axes. They wreaked a bloody reckoning, and to this day the dwarves remember their bondage: their distrust of magic and its wielders runs almost as deep as their distrust of the gnomes. They keep the secret of their powder close, and their musketmen, especially those who fought the Mages, and their descendents, are considered national heroes. A force of Dwarvish Musketeers, armed with their long guns, gleaming mail, and their sharp axes, are an elite and terrifying threat for anyone to face.

    Naming conventions:

    Favor Scandinavian sounding first names: Beorn, Sigmund, Ivar, etc. Second name relates to their clan, and a third name relates to their craft (all dwarves have one). Example name: Beorn Brittlebeard the Mason, or Aeric Winterstone the Smith.

    Relations:

    Dwarves are traditionalists, and so often have little patience for relationships outside their race; on the other hand, they are practical and possess a dominant genome, so they sometimes elect to marry skilled and competent members of other species to improve the talents and strengths of their own clans. Furthermore, family lines are VERY important to the dwarven folk; it is very rare, and frowned upon, for a dwarf to have children with someone they are not Steel-bonded (married) to, and almost never select a second spouse unless the first is killed at a young age.
    Dwarves as a whole distrust gnomes and magic-users, but are willing to- cautiously- take most others as they come. Slow to make friends, the Dwarves are a patient people and will take their time to decide how they feel about a person. Such decisions cannot be made in haste: Dwarves hate haste, and the desperate need of other races to get things done right -now- is one of the things they distrust most about the shorter-lived ones. How can any good decision be reached if every option and possible consequence is not carefully contemplated? But once loyalty, or enmity, is earned, it will take the return of the Great Thunders to change their minds.

    Beliefs:

    Once revering the Ettin that founded their race as their Mother Goddess, celebrating her with regular sacrifices of mutton and ale, the dwarves have grown away from her since the Mages' Folly. Especially when many of her priests and holy places were destroyed and her relics stolen. While some small number still follow the old ways, and try to return their brethren to the fold, most dwarves believe in only three things: The Names of their Fathers (and mothers), the Metal in their hands, (both for crafting and wielding. They prefer axes and hammers, and while they're fond of guns, they prefer long rifles and blunderbusses to fancy revolvers and pistols), and the sweat of their brows (hard work is very dwarvish, and any dwarf who balks at a hard day's (10+ hours) work is ridiculed). To be idle, as in, not to have work is regarded as one of the worst possible fates for a dwarf. In fact, “May there be no works for your hands,” or, “May your forge fall silent,” are considered to be heavy, powerful curses, and the title “Do-nothing” is a brawl-worthy insult. Furthermore, the belief of metal in their hands also leads to a certain snobbery when it comes to materials. A dwarf -will- work with pig iron, or brass, or bronze, but they don't like it. Give them gold, give them silver, or better yet, give them steel- and they will be happy. Steel above all things: it is practically holy to the newer generations of dwarf-kind, and they love its looked. Polished, hanging in rings or in plates, simply adorning their tools. Its simplicity and its usefulness is considered a metaphor for how an honorable dwarf should be: Unyielding, Useful, and Unaffected. The only thing held in equal reverence is stone: From Stone they come from, and to Stone will they return. Dwarves are typically buried in nooks within great slabs of stone, their resting place carved out by them slowly over the course of their lives, and sealed by their family when they take their final rest: so that they may rise again when the Great Thunders return and the dwarves face their final trial. Finally, their need to be busy, and their need to be useful, is tied into their ancestors: they can not let the house that their forefathers(and mothers) built fall into shambles. In that vein, only the ancestors who did well and were useful throughout their lives are remembered: those who built a firm foundation for their families. Dwarves are all part of the same machine, and they value their place in keeping it run, both for the past and for the future.
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