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Sea Dwarf

Whereas the Mountain Dwarves are isolationists and the Hill Dwarves reclusive, the Sea Dwarves are sociable merchants, whalers, explorers and sometimes pirates. Some would consider them friendly and others see them as rogues. Their homes in the fjords and islands keep them far removed from politics in the mainland. Sea Dwarves are prone to adventure by their very nature. The far-travelled race encourages their young to seek fortune and acceptance.   When the corruption came, many races and species fled south to escape it. In the early days before the City's founding the southernmost tip of Sariel was consumed in chaos and bloodshed. The Sea Dwarves originated from various Hill Dwarf clans who had been displaced from their ancestral halls and found themselves living among these trying conditions. When the dwarves saw the Duergar, Goblins and Orcs gaining some acceptance among the other races and being allowed to exist within The City, the dwarves split into two factions. Those who learned to live with it remained within the City. Those who didn't decided to leave.   The issue they had was that they had nowhere to go. The Everstorm made travelling to another continent suicidal for so many and the corruption had consumed most of the land. These dwarves hatred from their historic enemies was so great that they swallowed their dislike for boats and took to the oceans.   The Sea Dwarves became a nomadic people, travelling around Sariel and - as their sailing and navigation skills improved over the centuries - other continents in fleets of ships.   Whilst intially they considered themselves the only "true dwarves" left who held Flammir in such high regard that they refused to live alongside their enemies, this pride was soon humbled. Life at sea was dangerous and required the dwarves to put aside old skills and learn new ones to survive. Many felt that Flammir had forsaken them and some were driven to such desperation that they began to adopt ocean gods such as Aquanda or Maestara, in the hopes they would calm the seas and protect them. Over time others chose to use the Severance to renounce all the gods and become godless. These drastic changes caused much infighting amongst the Sea Dwarves and they seperated and scattered across the ocean into many different clans. Some maintain a nomadic lifestyle, only stopping at ports and harbours for a few days at a time, whilst others established new strongholds in distant islands in an effort to reclaim their lost pride and devotion to Flammir.   By the time their travels had brought the Sea Dwarves back to The City centuries later, they were barely recognisable to their cousins who shunned them for forgetting the very traditions they set out to uphold.   Whilst their high spirits and zest for life wouldn't show it, the Sea Dwarves are a broken and splintered people. Each clan lives on a single ship which is their home, with the elders filling in the top ranks of authority among the crew. Youngsters are encouraged to leave at ports, join other crews, gain new experiences and skills and start their own families and clans so that one day they can add that to their clan's fleet. Many Sea Dwarves however go rogue and abandon their families, another example - Mountain Dwarves and Hill Dwarves will point out - that they have lost their way by abandonning the traditions of their people.   The Sea Dwarves exhibit a natural adroitness compared to other dwarves. This can be seen in action while they navigate their ships through glacial forests and rocky islands. The mariners stand as tall as their hill-born cousins but are much lighter.   Many keep their beards short and hair shaved or tied in a topknot so not to catch on the rigging of ships. Once they come down from the rigging and earn status on a vessel, they grow out their beards. Devout men and women collect trophies such as seashells, jewels, and shark teeth from their voyages and tie them into their beards and hair in a practice called tarag khun.   Unlike the landlocked cousins, they forgo wearing heavy armour of using shields, preferring to keep themselves light and free to move quickly. They tend to prefer lighter weaponry too such as rapiers, tridents, crossbows and nets.

Culture

Major language groups and dialects

Sea Dwarves still speak Dwarvish, but the constant travels mean they have grown quick at learning new languages. Almost all are fluent in Common and at least one or two other languages of races they expect to trade with.

Art & Architecture

The Sea Dwarves long ago abandonned their forges and strongholds for a life on the ocean waves. They have little to build much of their own. Rather than see this as a failing as their fatalistic cousins might, they instead see it as the hand they've been dealt and make the most of it. They pride themselves on their superior trade skills and believe that is what they gained for having lost their ancestral gift for forgecraft.   Crafting and expressions of art are done with carpentry and wood rather than smithing and steel. Lacking the millennia of experience their race has with metalwork, these creations are often not as beautiful or ingenious as land-based dwarves would make, but a thousand years worth of experience still makes their crafting prowess obvious.


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