Dwarves are a stocky race noted for living in the high mountains of Kementari, being master craftsmen, and fierce fighters.
Most dwarven settlements are built around mining or quarrying operations. Some very small scale agriculture is done, along with raising a few livestock, but most food is acquired by trade.
Dwarven agriculture differs from that of humans. Dwarves have a special relationship with goats, and often use Dwarven Goats as pack and draft animals. Regular and even miniature goats are also kept in large numbers. Dwarves also have a breed of chicken with more dense feathers and better adapted to the cold. They do not tend to keep much other livestock though (see Trying to sell a dwarf a riding horse). The other large part of their diet is from a type of large fungus called the Dwarven Fruit Tree. The fungus is typically fed the goat manure at the “roots”. While the result is rather tasteless it can absorb the flavor of other things and thus dwarven cuisine has a strong tradition of puddings and stews.
Dwarves are also famous for their mead. Typically, the honey is imported from nearby Halfling, Elvish, or Human communities. Before the exile, Dwarves say the mountains of Khazad-Gathol grew a plant called sugar weed that could produce a sugary sap that was fermented into a Dwarven sugar ale. The crop failed to grow in Kementari and honey was used as passable substitute.
Dwarven law functions much like the Senate of the Urbiot Empire. Dwarven government, from the ground up, consists of Families. Only married Dwarves actually vote, this is something to note. A group of (often, but not necessarily related) Families form a Sept. Family patriarchs vote for a sept Elder to judge matters between them and vote for who should be Jarl of the clan. A Clan is a group of (again, often related, but not necessarily) Septs. The Elders elect a Jarl to head the Clan and make laws. Laws are passed with the consent of the Elders.
There are two types of dwarven settlements. The first is a "Thorp", which is an agricultural town high on the mountains were other races would find the environment uncomfortable. Dwarves are more resistant to cold and can climb much higher without worry of altitude sickness. These are above ground settlements that usually consist of stone houses and artificial terraces for gardens. Goats are let out to graze on the mountainside. There is often a dug out treepit or enclosed treehut where the Dwarven Fruit Trees are cultivated in darkness. Cisterns to catch rain water are also usually found if there is not a mountain stream nearby.
The other type of settlement is a "Burg". These are much larger settlements and are often supplied by several Thorps. They are almost entirely subterranean and are half mine-half town. As the mine grows, living spaces and workshops are hollowed out off the old tunnels- resulting in an ever growing maze-like town. Dwarven cities are often several Burgs that have tunneled into each other and connected underground. The legendary Hollow mountain in Khazad-Gathol was supposed to have been the largest of these cities ever built, even bigger than the impressive Khazadbar in central Kementari. Due to dwarven Darkvision, such dwellings are seldom lit at all and any creature lacking natural Darkvision would find it impossible to live or even navigate a Burg.
Khazadbar is a massive work, effectively hollowing out a ring of mountains in the center of Kementari. Air and light for the half million inhabitants are provided my numerous shafts, with vent fans driven by underground streams and animal power. Light is sent down shafts by mighty mirrors, allowing some normal crops to be grown underground. Heat is provided by geothermal means (wherever possible), and by burning combustibles (often coal, but a lot of wood is used as well). The produce of Khazadbar’s mines and workshops is traded for food and fuel.
In Khazadbar there are 15 Oberjarls who are elected by councils of Clans, who act as a Senate for the King of Khazadbar. Whenever it becomes time to crown a new king, the Oberjarls elect three of their number who go before the high priest of Khuzduluzbad (their name for Saint Ken). The high priest will give one of the candidates the Hammer of Durin DeepDelver as the mark of anointing that one as the The Lady of Stone's chosen. At that point, he is seen as ruling all Dwarves with divine right unless the Temple were to recall the Hammer from him. The Oberjarls still handle much of the minutia of government.
Outside of Khazadbar, during times of local trouble, local clans might elect an Oberjarl to lead them. If an area had a grievance with Khazadbar, any Oberjarl they elect would have a right to sit at the council. It is just that the hassle of organizing an election and the rarity of needing the representation means that Oberjarls are rarely found outside Khazadbar.
In matters of war, Dwarves are quite strong. Most Dwarves learn how to fight due to tradition and they have cultural disposition to unity allowing them to raise large armies quickly. Hammers and battle-axes are the most common weapons, and would be what most Dwarves who are not regular warriors would carry into battle. Most trained Dwarven warriors carry large one handed axes called Waraxes. When above ground they fight in shield walls. A few wield an Urogosh. It is essentially a dwarf sized Halberd and is often used in an open ground phalanx, especially against Calvary. Crossbows provide ranged fire support for these formations. Dwarves themselves do not have a Calvary tradition. Goat riders have been known to scout ahead of hosts, but for the most part they prefer to dismount and fight on foot.
They have very little sexual dimorphism compared to humans, and the ratio of male to female is approximately two to one.
Ecology and Habitats
Dwarves strongly prefer underground dwellings in mountainous terrain over all other areas.
The basic social group is the Clan, and Dwarven culture emphasizes clan self-sufficiency. Settlements outside of Khazadbar are often single clans. Septs in clans will specialize in various trades. Dwarf clans often have stories around their creation, often forming a clan specific mythos. For example the two oldest clans (Ironstone and Battlehammer) in Tolpereth have a rather well known origin legends. Clans can be either matrilocal or patrilocal, depending on their history and circumstances. Dwarvish culture is egalitarian in that it is neither a Matriarchy or a Patriarchy (in spite of the male to female ratio). Dwarves themselves live in extended families. Because of this social arrangement, marriage is to someone outside the Sept, and the Clan if possible. This has the added benefit of tying the clans closer together. Due to the male to female ratio, about half of Dwarven men will not marry. This, combined with the technological orientation of the culture and the use of ritual and ceremony, has resulted in the trades being very hierarchical. Among Dwarves, skill in their profession translates into social status. Assessments of professional skill are done by their peers, and these assessments are not retractable. Age is respected, but not revered. Dwarven hierarchy, focus on clan and family relationships, and the pervasive use of ritual have resulted in Dwarven government being a tribal based hereditary Monarchy.
Geographic Origin and Distribution
Perception and Sensory Capabilities
They have the ability to see in total darkness (Infravision).
Civilization and Culture
Dwarves are team players and more comfortable in groups.
Dwarven women are some of the most valuable members of their community. The concept of chivalrous conduct among Humans is nothing compared to how the Dwarves treat their women. There is great care in making sure they are protected. Disrespecting a lady is a good way to find yourself tossed out of the gates. Dwarven ladies are given equal freedom to the menfolk as an extension of this honor and are even allowed to serve as Dwarven Defenders when the come of age, even if the lady’s mother is likely to object.
Average Technological Level
Dwarven culture has achieved a late Medieval level of technology
Culture and Cultural Heritage
Due to the limited opportunities for agriculture in their chosen environment, Dwarvish culture places an emphasis on conservation of food and fuel. This, combined with having a (usually) large group of people together in a confined space, has resulted in Dwarves having many holidays and celebrations, but little actual feasting (with the notable exception of the Feast of Khazad-Gathol). Dwarves also tend to be ritualistic and ceremonial as a way of insuring that everyone in their culture is aware of mutual obligations and expectations. Where Elves see ceremony as a way of preserving their culture (and passing the time), Dwarves use ceremony and ritual as a social lubricant to keep conflict minimized and channeled. Another result of the limited agricultural opportunities is that Dwarvish culture tends to have a technological orientation.
There are three types of subcultures to the Dwarves.
The first are referred to as Craft Clans. These clans are economic powerhouses that function more as a business. They are generally the wealthiest clans and dwarves belonging to these clans often dedicate their life to the refinement of a craft and the building of Burgs. These are the clans that operate the largest mines and are the reason that Dwarven metalwork is far superior to that of other races.
The second are referred to as the War Clans. These are the clans focused on slaying Goblins and Orcs. Some have often compared these clans to crusader kingdoms founded near the Kalifate of Lagash. They often run smaller, mining, building, and farming septs but a large portion of their income comes from mercenary work. Dwarves have a long tradition of neutrality in human wars but most nations have bounties on the races corrupted by Tumo, and these clans make a business on collecting them. Also, small companies of Dwarves can be found in almost every war since their migration. These are always small companies, though. Dwarves have no interest in Human politics beyond coin and have no desire to be involved any further.
Finally, there are the Agricultural Clans. These are the ones that run the terrace farms and manage herds of Goats. They are incredible farmers that are able to maximize the production of a remarkably small area.
Common Customs, Traditions and Rituals
The tendency for dwarven culture to have a technological orientation combined with the confined living arrangements has resulted in theft being a much more serious crime to Dwarves than to Humans.
Common Myths and Legends
- Scientific Name
- Homo Terrestrialis
- 400 years
- Average Height
- 4 feet (1.3 m).
- Average Weight
- 180 lbs (396 kg)
- Average Physique
- Dwarves are a stocky race, averaging 4 feet in height, but massing about the same as a human.
- Body Tint, Colouring and Marking
- They tend to have brownish complexions, with little variation in hair and eye color, size, or build.
- Related Myths
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