Dwarves Species in Albion | World Anvil
BUILD YOUR OWN WORLD Like what you see? Become the Master of your own Universe!


Dwarves, or Khazad in their own toungue, are a short, bulky race. Not far removed from human, they are well known for living mostly below ground and enjoying mining and metalwork. They originally come from a far away land to the east known to them as the Zahrel Khazad, or to Humans as the Khavkhaz Mountains. Within Albion they are typically found in Zhakhzad, within the Alba Mountains

Basic Information


Apart from the obvious differences, Dwarves have a couple less noticable ones. For example, they have 5 fingers on each hand along with their thumb, and their bones are far stockier than those of a human. Their digestive system is much tougher than that of a human, being more used to digesting plant matter. Their livers can break down much tougher toxins and materials than a humans. They have more powerful immune systems than humans, and they run at around 32 C. Internally, they are quite similar to humans in terms of organs, apart from the extended digestive system, larger liver, and thicker bones/muscles. However, they are often paler than humans, though they get their vit D from their diet.
A dwarf uses Oxygen at a slower rate than a human, and can typically go around 5 min without breathing if needed, longer if trained.

Biological Traits

Dwarves have two major subgroups, Hill and Mountain (Hanadul and Abbadul). They differ only slightly, and non-dwarves tend to have trouble seeing the differences. Hill Dwarves are slightly taller, and slighlty less stocky. They also tend to have lighter hair and darker skin, though they are still paler than most humans. Hill dwarves are also more accustomed to sunlight, and while they may not enjoy the outdoors, they are more tolerant of it.
Dwarves are not very sexually dimorphic. Most non-dwarves struggle to tell the difference between men and women, with it only being obvious if the woman is currently breastfeeding or in her 4th quarter of pregnancy. Otherwise, the diffrences are mostly subtle, like the less pronounced brow ridges, or the slighlty less coarse hair.

Genetics and Reproduction

Dwarves mate for life, and will not remarry after a spouse dies. They are total monogamists, with adultery and other forms of extramarital sex not being taboos as much as not a concept. Typically, they have 2-3 children per couple, and expect all to survive, unlike a human. The gestation period for a female dwarf is typically 15 months, and they are unable to become pregnant untill the child is at least 3-4 years old. They gestate internally, like a human. They, however, have much easier deliveries than humans, and the long gestation period is simply due to the lower energy intake of a dwarf.
Around 5% of dwarves are attracted to their own gender or none. The first group finds someone else like them and either adopts orphans or lives without children. There is little stigma against these group, as they are seen as performing a nescessary and important act. Most dwarves, once they turn around 70, have a very powerful drive to care for children, and as such most will try their best to have some. This drive fades by their first century. The second group typically goes into teaching or the care of younger dwarves. Those that never feel the urge tend to focus more intensly on their craft, becoming great artisans.
Most marriages are arranged, though both parties can opt out with little stigma.

Growth Rate & Stages

When a dwarf is born, it is almost entirely helpless, being able to cling to their parent and feed, and that is about it. For the first 2 years of its life, that is all it does. In their third year, they begin to walk around, and by their 4th it typically begins speaking.
This period is childhood, and it continues untill the dwarf is around 30 years old. At this point, they become an apprentice to some craftsperson or other professional, to learn a trade, and choose a name. After 10 years on the job, they are considered trained and can begin their profession. However, schools tend to take closer to 15 or even 20 years to crank out a professional, so educated dwarves tend to begin in their late 40s or early 50s.
It is at this point that it is common for a dwarf to find a mate, and likely have children starting before their 80th year, typically continuing with one per decade until before their 100th. Female and Male dwarves both become largely infertile after their 120th year.
A dwarf reaches their physical peak at around their 100th year, and after that, are considered middle aged at 120. An old dwarf is one who lives to 200, and 250 is considered a good long lifespan. After this, dwarves continue to die off until most are gone by their 4th century, and very few see the second half of their fifth.

Ecology and Habitats

Dwarves live entirely underground, visiting the surface as little as they can. They live under mountains or hills, depending on the exact race. In fact, most dwarves are mildly agoraphobic, prefering having a roof over their head. Their favoured climate is around 16 C, and due to their tendancy to wear heavier clothes can easily operate in sub zero conditions as long as their homes are kept warm enough.
Their habitats tend to be utilitarian, with long small hallways connecting to long small hallways, with only royal courts and central areas having ceilings much more than 1.5 m tall. While a dwarfs home may be richly decorated, the exterior will likely be identical to every other, to the point that becoming lost may be easy for an outside.

Dietary Needs and Habits

A dwarven diet is mostly vegetable and fungal, as they subsist only on that can grow underground. However, they have delicacies involving bats, naked mole rats, snakes, and many other below ground creatures. Modern dwarves have set up complex maechanomagical devices to grow plentiful food in their underground cities, mostly off of magical light.
Due to their robust digestion however, many dwarven foods and delicacies are not palatable or even edible to other species. A dish that is well spiced for a dwarf may be poisonous to a human, and many of the base root vegetables and fungi can be deadly to those unaccustomed.
To dwarves meat still is a luxury, one that is not seen with every meal, but a modern dwarf can expect to see it once every few days, though some rich dwarves can have meals entirely of meat, or eat it for every supper. Some dwarves, mostly hill dwarves living near humans, even enjoy animals like cow or pig, but the underground animals hold a special place in their heart.

Biological Cycle

Dwarves tend to operate on long time scales. As such, the passing of seasons goes largely unnoticed by a Dwarf.
However, one very rarely used capability of dwarves is heavily tied to the seasons. A dwarf can, in extreme circumstances, hibernate over the winter. This lowers their body temperature to just 5 C, and consumes around a fourth the energy a normal dwarf would use, but is extremly dangerous, with around 1% of dwarves never waking up. This hibernating dwarf will sleep through the winter, after consuming enough food to keep them going, awakening at the first thaw. This is not typically seen in modern dwarf society, where there is enough food to last the winter, but some tribal dwarves in the Khavkhaz continue to sleep the winter away.

Additional Information

Social Structure

Dwarves are heavily family minded. Each dwarf belongs to a clan, who tend to share a part of a city, or the entirety of one, where they all live together. Clan comes before everything, even personal wellbeing, and protecting the honour of the clan name is paramount. As such, dwarves obey the directives of the clan leadership almost always.
Within a specific clan region, most dwarves will be members of the clan, though intermingling is allowed. For a clan member, the word of a clan-father/mother is supreme over that of the dwarven king, and that king is typically seen as more of a first among the council, though the power and wealth of his clan makes it a good idea to follow along.
Within clans, the clan father manages external factors like trade and external diplomacy, while the clan mother manages internal factors like budgets and internal relationships. While there is a clan mothers council to compliment the ruling council, it is not as visible to outsiders as the clan fathers council. Typically the father will be male and the mother female, though this is not strictly enforeced, especially in the smaller clans.

Facial characteristics

The face of a dwarf is quite similar to a Homo Neandrathalis. Thich brow ridges, lots of hair. Dwarves pride themselves on their hair, both beard and head, and both genders style it with braiding, rings and weaves.

Geographic Origin and Distribution

Found anywhere that mountain ranges or foothills are present, Dwarves are a hardy species that is found around the world. They are concentrated in Albion, the Khavkaz Mountains, and the great southern mountains of Sarasvati. A small selection of Dwarves frequently make trips between them, with these odd, sky loving dwarves manning great long distance airships. This frequent travel makes the racial differences less pronounced than in most humans, though a trained eye can see them. The difference between Hill and Mountain Dwarves in Albion is greater than the difference between a Sarasvatian Mountain Dwarf and a Albionan Mountain Dward.

Average Intelligence

The standard Dwarf is around as intelligent as a human, if perhaps a little slower to adapt to new ideas. Their long training and persuit of perfectionism leaves them wary of new ways of doing things, and some may see this as a sign of a lower level of intelligence. Dwarves are less varied than humans in intelligence though, tending to fall within a smaller range of common values.

Perception and Sensory Capabilities

A Dwarf has a silvery, reflective pair of eyes. These eyes, much like that of a cat, reflect light past the retina again, allowing them to see well in low to barely any light, though they do need a little. However, their eyes struggle with bright sunlight, being unable to see as well as a human under it. They also have less colour vision than humans, and cannot tell red from green.
Around 1/30 Dwarves have The Spark, they are a less magical race than others. Many dwarves that have the spark feel drawn to either the priesthood (birthmark on top of head), wizadry (birthmark on side or back of head), or become some kind of fighter (birthmark on forearm). The most common path for them is becoming an artificer or mechanist of some kind, however, any path is open to them.

Civilization and Culture

Naming Traditions

Dwarves have 3 names, their given name, their chosen name, and their clan name. The given name is given at birth by the parents, but the chosen name is taken at 30. Typically, it will be that of an ancestor, even a parent, or perhaps that of a famous example of their chosen profession, though more lighthearted names are common. In addition, they may be given a moniker like redbeard or smith to distinguish them from others in their clan.
Typically those within a clan will refer to others in their own clan by their chosen name then given name. Those from outside will refer to them by clan name then chosen name. Those very close to a dwarf may use only the given name, in the similar manner to how children are addressed. For example:
Daerdahk Baraz Ogrig. A member of the ruling Daerdahk clan, Ogrig was given the name Baraz (ruby) for his dark red hair. At 30 he chose the name Ogrig ( The ability to make mead ) as it was his chosen profession. An acquaintance from within his clan may call him Ogrig Baraz, though Ogrig may suffice depending on context. A member of another clan may call him Daerdahk Ogrig, though if they are a friend from another clan Daerdahk Baraz or Ogrig Baraz may be allowed. His family and close friends may call him Baraz, just as they would have referred to him as a young boy. Typically he would be refered to as Daerdahk Ogrig by non dwarves, but even non-dwarven friends would likely never call him by his given name, but Ogrig may be allowed.
If there were another Ogrig in the clan, Ogrig would likely go by Ogrig Targbaraz (Redbeard) or some other moniker, to distinguish him from the other Ogrig. This would replace most instances of Ogrig in the above.

Major Organizations

The clans are the primary organizations. Each of the three areas of dwarven inhabitation has different clans, though some are shared. Zhakhzad has around 30 clans, with 12 forming the ruling council. Of these clans, 9 are hill dwarves with 3 of them on the council, while the other 21 and 9 are mountain dwarves. While guilds, schools and temples exist, they are not close to as dominant as the clan structure, which holds great importance in dwarven culture.

Beauty Ideals

Well kept beard and hair, but otherwise like with most species, general health is desirable. Typically muscle is more desirable than fat, but a certain amount of fat is expected.

Gender Ideals

There are no specific gender ideals for one gender over another. Dwarves are very androgenous.
The strongest gendered roles in dwarven society are that of clan mother and father, who are the ruling pair (though not nescessarily or even typically married) of a clan. Even then, these roles can and have been taken by the "wrong" gender, though this is typically due to a lack of strong candidates in smaller clans.
The clan mother typically handles matters within the clan, while the clan father manages those outside. In practice, this boils down to the father negotiating trade deals, diplomacy, and attacks, while the mother manages internal dynamics, economics of the clan and defence. However, on many of these matters they will act as advisors to each other, as well as taking advice from the wider clan.

Courtship Ideals

Typically courtship starts with an arranged pairing. Depending on the size of a clan this can be done within or without, but is typically arranged with at least 6 generations seperation. For smaller clans, the clan mother and father will arrange each marriage, but for larger clans, this falls on the mothers and fathers of individual families. The dwarf being arranged of course has input on the process, though typically more in rejection than suggestion. Typically this will happen beginning in their 45th year, continuing at a rather mild pace until their 55th. It will then become a little quicker, as typically 60 is seen as too late to begin, though many have found love far into their 70s.
This is given a year to develop, at the end of which, the parties involved decide if they want to continue. If they do, they get married, if not, they go thier seperate ways. After around 5 years of marriage, they are typically ready to have children, and after a decade or so typically have their first child. After having 2-3 children, they typically lose the urge to have more.

Relationship Ideals

After losing the urge to have children, most dwarves stay with their partner as 2 sides of the same coin for the entirety of their lives. While divorce is a (rare) thing, dwarves never remarry, even if their partner dies. The ideal relationship for a dwarf is one where their partner completes them, allowing them to focus on what they do best, while sharing interests and a life.

Average Technological Level

Dwarves have a rougly early industrial middle medieval technology level, but their love of perfection makes them unwilling to use machines to produce things. Some dwarves have achieved amazing things with technology, typically with the application of magic, but this never develops into further technological advancement due to a very strong culture of having to do everything themselves to get it right.

Major Language Groups and Dialects

Most dwarves speak Khuzdul, and though there is local variation and accenting, it is relatively standardized due to frequent magical communication. A dwarf can typically tell which of the three communities another is from, and if familiar can tell if they are hill or mountain. WIthin their own community they can likely guess at clan, depending on local layout and culture.

Common Dress Code

Dwarves tend to wear thick clothes made of the durable roots of a Maidens hair fungus, an underground fungus. These are often richly decorated with metals and gems of various kind, indicating status, occupation and clan.

Common Taboos

Lying or betraying your oath. Your word is your clans word, and digracing it could lead to being outlawed or worse.
Extramarital sex is not so much a taboo as just something unthinkable. In addition, sex in general is rather taboo within dwarven culture.
Shaving. A dwarf may trim their beard, even remove a braid, but a clean-shaven dwarf is a disgraced dwarf. Very occasionally, for some reason, perhaps medical, a dwarf may lose their beard, but even then, they will retain some semblance of face covering.
Allowing a non-dwarf into your home. Very few dwarves would gladly welcome a non-dwarf into the non-public areas of their clan homes, and fewer still would be close to happy with a dwarf within their home itself.
Alchemy. Dwarves are vaugely aware of the practice of converting metals between forms, but feel it is a perversion of the natural order. Mahal placed the metals in the earth, and who are we mortals to change them.
Automation. Dwarves feel that they have been given the gift of smithing by Mahal, and they should not be sharing that gift with machines. It doesnt hurt that dwarves are very perfectionist, and so dislike automation anyway.


Dwarves were forged by Mahal the great smith at the beginning of the world, and laid in the Khavkhaz mountains. They were forged from the pattern as the Giants, and are the littlest brothers of them. From there, they met other races, and soon became friendly with the gnomes. They spread thorughout the world like the other races, slowly finding their niche as the miners and blacksmiths of the world, like their great father.
The dwarves of Zhakhzad arrived before the fall of Tiamaat, likely many thousands of years before, as great halls can be found decaying in the mountains. However, like everywhere, the fall lead to a great loss of knowledge after the flood, and many of these halls had to be abandoned because of the earthquakes. As such, what little is known of these dwarves is mostly from the Khavkhaz mountain homes, where records survived the fall, even if they lack detail and have been misplaced with time.

Interspecies Relations and Assumptions

Dwarves are untrusting of nearly all species except the gnomes. They find elves to flighty and chaotic, Humans to quick and unpredictable, and halflings uninteresting.
Dwarves have a very good relationship with the Giants. Forged from the same template and by the same god, they are brother species. Most dwarves that live in giant land will gladly give tribute to the local giant in exchange for protection and help in lean times. Dwarves learned all they have from the Giants, smithing from the fire giants, fighting from the frost giants, domestication from the cloud giants, masonry from the stone giants and magic from the storm giants. They took the written language of the giants, though adapted their own spoken language.
Scientific Name
Homo Pumilius
250-300 years
Average Height
1.2 m
Average Weight
60-70 kg
Average Physique
Dwarves are much bulkier than humans, if they were the same size, they would likely be seen as fat or at least chubby. However, the majority of this mass is long twitch muscle fibers, giving them incredible strength when applied over time. Their skin is thicker than humans, and is visibly scaley when viewed from up close (individual scales on the scale of around 1 mm). They have thick, coarse hair all over their bodies except on their upper cheeks, on their forehead, and on their nose, ears and eyes.
Body Tint, Colouring and Marking
Dwarves are quite pale, though it is difficult to see that anywhere but the face. Most dwarves have a birthmark, and they believe it was placed there by Aulë as a mark of what their profession in life shall be.


Please Login in order to comment!