Deep Mountain Dwarves Ethnicity in Saleh'Alire | World Anvil

Deep Mountain Dwarves

We fought for our freedom... For our salvation... Many of our forefathers outright died for it; we got our freedom at a great cost to our people, and we will defend it to the death again, and again, and again, if we ever find it necessary. By Gormriik, do not make us find it necessary now.
— Ambassador Torgben Dorederiik, to the Council of Olienn
  Many Archivists and laypeople alike often question how the Druagmiir (or the Deep Mountain Dwarves, as they're frequently called in Common) could possibly be related to the Phet, given their gargantuan size... The answer, however, lies in the folklore of the Dwarves.   According to this lore, the Giants were ceated as a slave race who, after the final disappearance of the Phet, came to rule the Underdark in their stead. It was during this time that Giants exiled the smallest members of their race to the outer echelons of their society- frequently using them as slave labor themselves in order to expand upon the ancestral citadels. After centuries of such oppression and enslavement, the Druagmiir began to emerge as a distinct group. Eventually, however, they revolted against the Giants- winning their freedom and driving their enslavers to the surface.   Archaeological evidence found to date suggests there is a significant amount of truth to this lore- though Archaeologists and Archivists both caution that elements of it may have been embellished over time (as tends to happen with mythologized history). If true, this makes the Druagmiir the first of their kind, and the parents of all Gnomes, Halflings, and other Dwarves who eventually followed.

Culture & Society

  Druagmirran philosophy, much like Goliath philosophy, insists that life itself is a neverending battle for survival ... Only the strongest can win- and it is their solemn duty to prove themselves as such; many Archivists believe this is a holdover from their days as slaves to the Giants, which eventually became central to their culture and identity. Regardless, it has resulted in a culture and society which is militaristic in nature, and industry focused.   The Druagmiir are a courageous and determined people whose lives revolve around mining first and foremost. These mines are often a source of pride for a Citadel, and the Druagmiir are certainly no strangers to them; each generation follows in the steps of those that came before them- becoming miners or engaging in a related profession by the time that they're adults. Those who don't frequently join a Citadel's military forces to defend their home.   It wouldn't be a stretch, as a result, to say that the trait which truly defines them is that of toil- and they are certainly tireless workers; no matter what profession they find themselves in, the Druagmiir will never leave a job half done once started, and will often work themselves to the bone for days on end- barely stopping even for food or water until the task has been completed; no obstacles daunt then, and their resolve is hardly ever shaken. As a people they see this kind of unceasing dedication as their most defining strength- a source of pride, rather than a drawback to be corrected.   While the Druagmiir are certainly ceaseless to the point of near singlemindedness, however, they're still driven by the same passions and emotions as any other species; they care for home and family, and honor their ancestors. They work to better themselves and their kind, and constantly strive to improve their living and working conditions- especially as in the Underdark, survival requires cooperation and near perfection.   They can be moved to do great things in the name of their Gods, and will gladly give their lives to defend things they value the most- especially their traditions and way of life; as the first Dwarves to emerge, the Druagmiir see themselves as the truest manifestation of Dwarven ideals. This has lead to severe tensions between themselves and their relatives, but has led to an incredible level of cultural preservation and record-keeping.  

Magic & Religion

Every strike of an axe against stone ... Every fire stoked within the forge ... Every brick laid for a citadel wall ... Is but a single step in the sacred journey towards perfection; it is our most solemn challenge to achieve greatness- but I shall not shy away from it.
— Druagmiiran Prayer
  Despite their heavy cultural emphasis on mining, mining isn't truly central to Druagmiiran society ... Indeed, the Gods and Ancestors themselves superseded even that among them- taking a position of absolute prominence and power above all else; Temples make up the central location of every Citadel. Priests, Clerics, and Paladins sit at the top of their social heirarchy. And every Druagmiir lives their lives by the tenants of their faith- often to the point where many consider it a blasphemy to miss even one of their thrice daily prayers.
  While other Dwarves worship Moradin and Machaya as the Allfather and Allmother respectively, however, the Druagmiir believe them to be false idols ... Instead they worship those they consider the Three Forefathers: Dumagion, the God of mountains and mining; Gormriik, the God of vigilance and protection; and Larthaus, the God of survival; other lesser Divinities have their place, but they're frequently worshiped below the Ancestors.   It is these three Gods who make up the center of all religious activities. The tenants of Druagmiiran faith itself, though, focus heavily on labor and industriousness, social and militaristic freedom, and total self reliance- lending to the already ingrained traditions and mentalities that developed out of centuries of enslavement ... But it also has another effect little known by surface dwellers: A near total animosity towards the use of Magic.   Magic itself is frowned upon in Druagmiiran society; in their eyes, nothing is more righteous than the sweat and blood of physical labor without aid- even from another. Using Magic of any kind is therefore seen as a crutch for the lazy, rather than a tool for useful aid as other Dwarves often see it. The exception, of course, is Magic wielded by the Clerics and Paladins, as the Divine and righteous agents of their Gods. Using these abilities for anything but the protection and welfare of the Clan or Citadel, however, is considered the highest offense.  

Housing & Architecture

  As denizens of the Underdark, the Druagmiir dwell in the Old Citadells once inhabited by their forefathers, The Phet. But as the Phet were the precursors to the Giants, these towering Citadels are far larger than the Druagmiir would ever actually have need for, and so have been extensively modified over the centuries as Clans have grown; terraces have been added, new buildings have been built into the sides of old ones, larger buildings bisected into smaller ones, and more.   The result is a confusing, strange, and near tangled abyss; a hapdash of old architecture and new- towering structures and squat ones, all in caverns the size of bygone sophonts who no longer roam the world; a physical expression of the way history changes over the centuries when you leave a culture all but forgotten and perfectly isolated beneath the mountains ... And yet the Druagmiir who inhabit these spaces do not find their maze-like Citadels confusing at all. Indeed, each Citadel has been meticulously mapped out by the specific Clans that claim them. By the time a duergar is but a child, the passages that make up their home are near perfectly committed to memory, and can be traversed expertly even in utter darkness (though contrary to popular belief among surface dwellers, Druagmirrian Citadels are well lit with Sunstone, as the group who discovered it).
Common Name
Deep Mountain Dwarf   Classification
Civilized Race   Genetic Ancestry
The Phet   Parent Species
Dwarves   Related Ethnicities
  • Druuma
  • Dasmiira
  Other Relations
Common Hair Colors
  Common Eye Colors
  Common Skin Tones
The Druagmiir typically only have two names, and there is little to distinguish male from female. A subtle distinction does exist, however, in that Male names (left) end with a consonant- and female names (right) end with a vowel, with 'a' being the most common.   Common Birth Names
  • Bruagend
  • Weverner
  • Dargaden
  • Vulmar
  • Guadus
  • Riegak
  • Bertaka
  • Hildruagi
  • Bianku
  • Hildelano
  • Margiita
  • Rigerta
  Common Clan Names
  • Hocherd
  • Kruaper
  • Gruamarus
  • Brendwold
  • Dorederiik
  • Kiirden
  • Haliinard
  • Viirmag
  • Muaniik
  Clan names are Citadel-wide and taken from their Citadel of birth. It remains even if they move to a new Citadel. Exiles, however, are given the surname Katner, Bariik, or Herliin upon their exile.

Food & Cuisine

  Because of its limited seasoning, often fireless cooking methods, and "gross" and "unapetizing" appearances, Druagmiirian cuisine is often considered "inelegant" by surface dwellers. But for a diet consisting purely of subterranean grown and forraged goods, it's rather complex compared to what surface dwellers would probably consider eating if forced to attempt surviving in such envornments themselves.   Root vegetables, Ground Nuts, various Fungi and Lichens, Subteranean Lizards and other creatures, along with Grubs and Insects make up the bulk of the diet. What Citadels have access to underground rivers and lakes may also have access to Blobfish and aquatic plants like Cave Lily; such aquatic products are high value trade commodities with other Citadels who may trade them in exchange for their own dairy products produced from the Milk of domesticated Dogmoles kept for such purposes.   A widespread cultural staple includes a pounded mash of boiled Bambara Nut sweetened with Black Beet Sugar, which is typically served at Breakfast. In the aquatic access zones, Blobfish is often served on a bed of quick pickled Salt Weed and Daikon. But where access to Lava Tubes exists, these vents are utilized for baking- producing a Casserole culture, alongside many cooked dishes. Among these, the most common is Gruiik: A casserole of various Fungi (including False Truffle and Inky Cap) in a thickened dark sauce made from Vampire Squid Ink and Dogmole Milk. As for dessert, Cave Hickory Pastries are a common sweet across most Draugmiirian Citadels regardless of access- though "sweets" among the Druagmiir tend to be far less sweet than many from the surface are used to, and are typically more nutty and earthy in flavor.  

Art & Leisure

  Like other Dwarven ethnicities, the Druagmiir are a people devoted to craft ... Specifically the crafts of mining and masonry. Unlike their Druuma brethren, however, the Druagmiir prefer less detailed styles and tend to eschew ostentatious ornamentation. Instead, much of Druagmiiran art (if it can be considered such) comes in the form of heightened attention to detail, and an intense focus on precision.   The Druagmiir have a strong utilitarian mindset. For that reason, ornamentation and beauty are often considered "wasteful"; to them, a perfectly created object wrought with the utmost attention to its creation and function is more beautiful than any artistic ornamentation one could possibly add to it during the creation process. Especially if the item's form and function are thrown off or made obsolete by the addition of such ostentatious inclusions.   When these artistic additions are rarely included, they are often gemoetric designs and motifs that mimic the shapes found in nature and the rock around them. And they are most often added to things such as Fabric and architecture, and other things, where the inclusion won't hinder the item's function- and indeed may even strengthen it to some regard. This inclusion is still never found in large quantities, however; their minimalistic mindset reigns supreme even in the rare instance they do choose to embelish the world around them.  

Beauty Ideals

  Like with ornamentation of items, the ornamentation of a Druagmiir's body is often frowned upon; in their eyes, a simple, cleanly Druagmiir that flaunts what the Creators gave them is more attractive than one that tries to hide it beneath gems, and jewels and other finery. For that reason, they appreciate the natural form of the body as it is, and frown upon any augmentations with magic and finery such as jewels, metals, or luxurious fabrics.   What ornamentation they do wear is often used to enhance the features they already possess- such as braiding bobbles into their hair, or wearing a small chain necklace to accentuate some ... Particularly voluptuous cleavage to get the attention of someone whose interest they fancy; these things are not considered too untowards. But one who takes it too far is seen as being "frivolous" and "materialistic"- the worst a Druagmiir could be in their society, as it makes them no better than the surface dwellers who frequently want for far more than they should.  

Traditions & Taboos

  The gifting of personal items from one Druagmiir to another (regardless of race) is a deep expression of commitment and trust. In many cases, the individual worked on the gift for months in advance- getting every aspect of it truly perfect for its intended recipient. For that reason the beneficiary of the gift is expected to regard it in the same careful manner; breaking, losing, or having a gift stolen are considered terrible omens for the relationship, and an affront to the creator of the gift themself.
My Dearest Velisala, Here I sit surrounded by family with the little kormii running too and fro as they do, and I cannot help but think of you ... I do hope you haven't grown lonely during your well deserved retirement. Despite your many protestations regarding gifts, I have included a small package this time. It is simple, but I believe it will serve you well in the new garden you spoke of in your last letter to me.
— Your beloved Hildruaga
""""""Before he can be fully considered as an adult, the boy has to earn his clan's name. The rite, called the Silent Year, consists of the young male leaving his clan caverns on the eye of his thirtieth birthday. Alone, he must survive the passage of a full year outside of the colony. Isolated, he will either fully develop his survival instincts or fail and die in the unforgiving darkness. Upon his return, the new adult will choose his name and take his rightful place. The clan will present him with a chosen bride, according to the dowry she is bringing and her merits as a good housewife. Duergar enter marriage as soon as they are recognized as worthy of bringing new sons into the clan.""""""


Author's Notes

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I absolutely love getting feedback on my setting and its worldbuilding. I love it even more when people poke and prod at it, and ask questions about the things I've built within it. I want both. I actively encourage both. And it makes me incredibly giddy whenever I get either. However, there's a time and a place for critique in particular- mostly when I've actually asked for it (which usually happens in World Anvil's discord server). And when I do ask for critique, there are two major things I politely request that you do not include in your commentary:   ➤ The first is any sort of critique on the way I've chosen to organize or format something; Saleh'Alire is not a narrative world written for reader enjoyment... It's is a living campaign setting for Dungeons and Dragons. To that end, it's written and organized for my players and I, specifically for ease of use during gameplay- and our organization needs are sometimes very different than others'. They are especially different, often-times, from how things "should be organized" for reader enjoyment.   ➤ Secondly, is any critique about sentence phrasing and structure, word choice, and so on; unless you've specifically found a typo, or you know for a provable fact I've blatantly misused a word, or something is legitimately unclear explicitly because I've worded it too strangely? Then respectfully: Don't comment on it; as a native English speaker of the SAE dialect, language critique in particular will almost always be unwelcome unless it's absolutely necessary. This is especially true if English is not you first language to begin with. My native dialect is criticized enough as it is for being "wrong", even by fellow native English speakers ... I really don't want to deal with the additional linguistic elitism of "formal English" from Second-Language speakers (no offense intended).   That being said: If you want to ask questions, speculate, or just ramble? Go for it! I love talking about my setting and I'm always happy to answer any questions you have, or entertain any thoughts about it. Praise, of course, is always welcome too (even if it's just a casual "this is great", it still means a lot to authors)- and if you love it, please don't forget to actually show that love by liking it and sharing it around. Because I genuinely do enjoy watching people explore and interact with my setting, and ask questions about it, and I'd definitely love to hear from you... Just be respectful about it, yeah?

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