Dwarves Species in Saleh'Alire | World Anvil


Cousins to the Giants

Dwarves? Yeah, everyone knows Dwarves. Well, they think they do, anyways... Ask anyone and you'll get the same answer: Short, stubborn drunks who grump around underground all their lives, and like metal more than they like even their own kind. Piss them off, and you'll get a warhammer to your skull... It's such a uniform response... Bit suspicious, though, ain't it? Perhaps it's just a stereotype they embrace; sure seem to keep everyone else out, though, don't they...
— Anonymous Castrillian tavern patron in Tolara
  A stubborn and severely traditionalist people, Dwarves are one of the only sapient species known to be direct natives of the Material Plane... Like the Giants, they too descend from the Phet who crawled up from the depths of the world so long ago that virtually no record of Saleh'Alire exists prior to their emergence. Records do indicate, however, a close relation of the Dwarves to the Gnomes and Halflings of the world. They also share close relation to the Giants who are believed to predate them- a fact which the religious lore shared between these races seems to corroborate.  

Geographic Distribution

Though they're certainly more common in some areas than in others, Dwarves have no singular nation or land of their own... Or, at least, not in the same sense as other species tend to. Instead, they're found all across the world- often ignoring the political, cultural, and other boundaries long established by others; they exist in times and spaces entirely of their own, and have little interest in the politics of others; this desire for isolation from the outside world often leads them to keep a comfortable distance even from other Dwarven Clans.

That said, they do have a natural warmth for their own kind. For that reason, they still prefer to settle closer to other Dwarves. Relations between these neighboring Clans tends to at least be cordial in these instances, with Strongholds exchanging messengers to share news, and occasionally marrying between one another. Typically that's the extent of their contact, however; under normal circumstances, ultimately Dwarves prefer to be left alone.   Regardless of where they're found, and near whom they settle, all Dwarves make their homes in well defended Strongholds situated in or around mountains- whether those are the Domur, Grimur, Gahiji, or Kogria ranges, or one of the many others situated across the world.   Each ethnicity typically maintains a preference for home ranges. The Druagmiir, for instance, prefer the deep mountains and still reside in the citadels of their Phetian ancestors- which are typically found in the Domur and Niesen ranges. The Druuma, on the other hand, prefer to isolate themselves high within the mountain peaks, and appreciate the Kogria and Griamon mountains of Tolara for their stability. By contrast, the Dasmiira can often be found within the valleys and hills of the low mountains, much closer to other civilizations- but especially in the Nisaba and Krina Passes.  

Physiology & Appearance

All Dwarves are short, stout, well muscled, and have beards- making it difficult to tell with which pleasantries to address any of them. As a point to those newly introduced, I urge the usage of neutral pleasantries lest one offend a Dwarf; once offended, they are hardly what one could consider to be a pleasant people
— Archivist Matou Memnon,
On The Nature of Dwarves
Dwarves are, perhaps, the most well known for their distinctive facial features... Having a prominent forehead with a distinctive central ridge and protruding brow. This addition of the bony protrusions is believed to have developed over the centuries as a necessary means of protecting a Dwarf's head from falling rocks and rubble- dangers which are all too common in the subterranean areas in which they live.   Their unusually thick beards are believed by Archivists to have originated as a health mechanism; they prevent respiratory and other infections from the many dangers of their native habitats, and Dwarves who shave them are far more prone to illness than others who keep theirs well maintained. Despite difference in facial structure, however, Dwarven physiology remains much the same as others.
Genetic Ancestry
The Phet   Genetic Relations   Ethnicities
Common Hair Colors
  Common Eye Colors
  Common Skin Tones
Small and stocky, Dwarves stand between 4 feet 3 inches to no more than 5 feet on average- though the Dasmiira tend to be on the shorter side of their range, and Druagmiir on the taller. What Dwarves lack in height, however, they made up for in bulk; even the smallest Dwarf is often as heavy as the lightest Human- weighing anywhere from 160 to 220 pounds on average.   Hair and skin color come in a variety of hues that vary per ethnicity, but remain firmly on the natural spectrum (if a bit on the ruddy side). For instance, Druagmiir appearances lean towards lighter shades of fawn and tan- whereas the Dasmiira tend towards hues of mahogany and umber. Druuma often fall somewhere in between, with skin more resembling the various shades of clay and terracotta. Hair colors span the same range- though is typically 4 to 5 shades darker than their skin. Regardless, almost all Dwarves have eyes that range from a light honey amber, to a brown so deep it's almost black. Likewise, all Dwarves are capable of growing large quantities of hair- including on the face and chest.  

Lifecycle & Lifespan

Although the Phet were nearly immortal, the lifespan of their descendants has significantly decreased over the centuries- and continues to do so with each generation. For that reason Dwarves are not as long lived as Giants. But they do age faster than Humans, making them an "in between" species of sorts when it comes to many aspects of their life cycle.
Average Lifespan
300 - 500 years
Average Height
4 - 5 ft
122 - 153 cm
Average Weight
160 - 220 lbs
73 - 100 kg
  Pregnancies typically last anywhere between eleven and thirteen months, with offspring reaching maturity at around 50 years of age. By 100 they're traditionally considered to have reached the age of majority, and are considered a full social and legal adult by their communities. Aging at a slower rate, it's not uncommon Dwarves near their 500th year- with the rare records describing Dwarves as old as 700. That being said, most Dwarves don't begin to consider the idea of marriage and family until about their 200th year.   As the most sacred rite of Dwarven culture and religion, an incredible amount of forethought is put into marrying the right spouse. Thankfully they often they maintain their youthful vigor well past their 300's- making this the prime time in a Dwarf's life to produce offspring. Especially since, by this point, many have completed their trade apprenticeships and can now contribute to their Clans in a more substantial manner.  

Special Abilities

Ya talk'n 'bout ole Oyrik, eh? Oy! Wotch that lil fooker down eight pin'a ale o'er at Marla's wi'out s'much a blink... Dem Dwar's, I tell ya! They're a bear-li lot, all'o'em! I'd drink wi one'o'em o'er a knife-eared bastar any'a day- an hav a hell'o'a tim'a it too!
— Elven tavern patron in Castrillis
  Living underground for most of their lives, Dwarves have become more aware of natural geographic features than most other species. One of their most outstanding traits, perhaps, is their flawless ability to navigate the winding, sloping tunnels underground; with just a few moments of concentration, a Dwarf can often tell which way they are oriented, how far beneath the earth they are located, and which way the surface is.   In addition to being amazing below-ground navigators, Dwarves also have well developed darkvision- making them able to see much better in the darkness than other species. Their stout nature, too, leads to the slower absorption of alcohol and other poisons, giving them a much heartier tolerance than others to such unfriendly substances.  

Social Basics

A Dwarf's beloved children and grandchildren are those who will inherit all which their ancestor leave behind. Marriage is therefore a sacred rite taken very seriously; children are their most treasured creations, and the birth of any child is an event that calls for great Clan-wide celebration.   Despite this, few Dwarves express romantic attraction towards their spouse. Dwarven marriages can't be considered marriages of politics or convenience, however; they are relationships of immense respect, viewing each spouse as co-creators fulfilling the holiest of roles. The emotions underlying such marriages might not be considered love, but are arguably just as intense.
— Grand Archivist Kimon Mirjan,
Marriage and Courting Among the Dwarves
The chief unit of Dwarven society, around which all life revolves, is the clan- or a complete extended family that dwells together within a single Stronghold. The Clan plays such an integral role that even Dwarves who leave their Strongholds (whether by exile, or personal choice) cherish their Clan identities above all else; everything a dwarf does in life is devoted to improving or helping one's clan, and bringing security and stability to its members. To be, or become, clanless is therefore easily the worst fate that can befall a Dwarf at any point in their life.   Because of the high emphasis on Clan, Dwarves also place incredibly high value on one's social standing within their Clan. Social standing among Dwarves, however, is highly dependent on both position and piety, which are intrinsically tied together within Dwarven culture and religion; their faith lies at the very root of all societal roles that can be fulfilled within a Stronghold.   Where most races view deities as ultrapowerful beings who stand apart from their worshipers, Dwarves see their gods as exemplars- mortal individuals who once blazed a path of ultimate dedication and skill mastery for their descendants to follow. Thus the Priests of the Dwarven faith keep close watch on the young of a Clan, constantly observing and evaluating them throughout their life in order to choose their vocation when they reach the age of majority; these decisions are frequently accepted without question.
  Despite the variety of paths that exist, each Clan calls upon members to fill three principal roles. First, are those whose occupations involve the artisans and creators- usually those involved in smithing, sculpture, and similar tasks. Second comes those who support the Clan through occupations which sustain the Stronghold and its inhabitants- including brewing, tending crops, mining, and preparing food. And finally the third function is filled by those individuals who navigate the space between the Clan and the chaotic outside world- such as political envoys, merchants, and even warriors.   Each Dwarven culture focuses more effort into one of these functions above the others. Regardless, all functions are filled within a Stronghold- and each takes centuries to perfectly master. And it's through loyalty and dedication, both to Gods and Clan, that a Dwarf slowly but surely masters every aspect of their occupation from start to finish over the course of their life; the life of a Dwarf is centers entirely around leaving behind a fitting legacy that continues to bolster the Clan well after their passing- not only in the production hard work and the production of artifacts of quality, but also through the production of children through good marriage.


Author's Notes

▼ Please Read Before You Comment ▼
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?

Please Login in order to comment!