are one of the major, civilized species of the Sora
. Dwarves are primarily a subterranean specie, carving their homes beneath the earth. Dwarves are native to many realms
, but have spread far and wide across the Sora, favoring mineral rich realms with many mountains and hills. Dwarves are often seen as standoffish by outsiders, but this is typically because they are very protective of their treasures. Dwarves are skilled craftsmen and technologically brilliant, often making new discoveries well before the other species. Despite being protective of their secrets, dwarves are greatly expansionist, conquering either by trade of might of arms.
Dwarves are short, but broad, having a low center of gravity and high mass. They are often much heavier than they appear at first glance, with dense muscle and fat. Despite being physically shorter than the other civilized species, dwarves are not weaker. In fact, their density makes them both stronger and healthier than many others. Both males and females are of similar height and weight, though females are much curvier. Healthy adults stand between 4' and 5'3" in height and weigh between 135 and 220 lbs. Obese dwarves are fairly rare, tending to be so only among the most idle nobility. Even then, they often prove to be deceptively strong.
Because of their subterranean lives, dwarves typically have paler skin than other species. The palest dwarves can be almost chalky and grayish in coloration, while even those with dark skin can be described as ruddy at best. Dwarves often say they have complexions like granite, from grays and whites to burned pink. Eye colors also tend to be pale, with icy blue being the most common color, followed by gray or silver, then amber, with the very rare hazel. Dwarven hair, meanwhile, tends toward darker colors, ranging from coal black to fiery copper. While older dwarves can have gray or even silver hair, they do not have blondes or hair colors lighter than burnt orange.
Dwarves have broad skulls with wide foreheads and strong features. They tend to have thick, furrowed brows and prominent noses. Eyes are typically small and deep-set with heavy lids. Dwarves have larger ears than humans, often slightly angled away from the skull, with smooth, round edges. Long, full beards and mustaches are nearly omnipresent on male dwarves; some female dwarves are capable of growing them as well and even those who don't often have thick sideburns. They have average-sized lips and mouths, though they possess fewer teeth that are larger than humans.
Dwarves possess the ability to see even in complete darkness, able to detect the minuscule amounts of light which is emitted by the nivose energy present in all living things. This vision is monochrome, unable to pick up individual colors. Other than this, dwarves have fairly standard senses.
Female dwarves are fertile roughly once every three months and have pregnancies that last a full year. These pregnancies are fairly taxing; in the last three months, most female dwarves are unable to do anything more strenuous than walking short distances. Dwarven babies are quite developed when born, usually with full heads of hair and some teeth. After about a year, they are capable of walking on their own and generally can be left to their own devices. They tend to be quite sturdy and difficult to harm, so most dwarven cultures have no problem allowing their children to wander around after birth. Children grow quickly, mostly reaching their adult size around the age of sixteen. From that point on, they continue to grow quite slowly for the next twenty-five years or so, finally ceasing around age forty. This usually only adds a few inches to their height, but may add a couple of pounds to their weight. Dwarves tend to set the middle ground as far as ages go, living longer than humans and goblins, but not as long as dranomyr. Most dwarves tend to live to at least 150 years, with some extremely old ones making it to 200.
As dwarves age, they tend to grow firmer and stiffer, becoming less able to move and get around. They also lose much of their skin, eye, and hair coloration, with old dwarves sometimes being easily mistakable for statues. It also becomes much more difficult for them to think quickly. Unlike humans, dwarves rarely suffer degenerations of their physical and mental maximums, but rather just become much, much slower at it. Additionally, dwarves rarely go bald either, though they do develop much deeper and intense wrinkles.
Dwarves are omnivores, able to eat a large number of foods with no issues. However, due to their underground lifestyles, most dwarves subsist primarily on fungus and the flesh of burrowing animals. Dwarves practice agriculture extensively, growing huge beds of a variety of mushrooms, truffles, and other fungi, as well as raising a number of livestock. Some communities of dwarves do practice surface agriculture, growing various plants and grains to add to their diet. When possible, they trade for exotic foods from other species.
Uniquely, dwarves appear to have a biological need to consume alcohol. Most dwarves drink some kind of beer, mead, or cider at least once a day, typically with dinner at the end of the day, though some imbibe far more often. Dwarves can become drunk, but must consume twice as much as a similarly sized human to become inebriated. Even if they do consume mass amounts of alcohol, dwarves do not suffer from any of the other side effects of consumption, such as hangovers, dehydration, or long-term liver damage.
Most dwarves live in deep underground burrows, typically on mountainsides or in hilly terrain. Some primitive dwarves live in natural cave systems, but most cultures dig deep within the earth, creating massive complexes of tunnels, caverns, and rooms. Some settlements are connected to the surface, though others are not, only connecting to other subterranean dwarven settlements. Even dwarves which live near the surface tend to live in burrows or mounds, feeling safer with earth above their heads.
Because they are used to living in the dark, dwarves prefer cooler climates, often on realms that have dimmer photopartums