Dwarven Writing Stamps

Tools used to impress letters and words into malluable material.


Writing stamps are the latest development if the Dwarves long history of innovations in writing. During the Era of Legends dwarves invented alphabets as an improvement upon the earlier draconic locographies and elvish syllabaries. Not only did the dwarves reduce the number of characters someone needed to learn (though it increased the number needed to write an individual word) they changed the swooping curving symbols of older systems to characters with straight lines that were easier to be cut into stone. The dwarves' next innovation was the creation of tin paper, thin sheets of tin that could be etched like stone and then bound in a book. As time when on dwarven writers began to use stamps precut with common words. These stamps soon spread beyond just common words to include all letters, as even switching to a new stamp after each letter was much quicker than using a quiver to make multiple cuts per letter. Now no dwarven scribe is complete without his stamp box.  


Writing stamps made of metal. One one end is a face with the letter or word cut in relief. behind the face is a short handle, with the end normally upset to provide a wider striking surface for the mallet. The stamp face would be hardened, while the rest of the stamp would be left soft. Some stamps have decorative handle material, such as wood, bone, or ivory around the central shaft. A stamp would be placed on a page, then tapped with a mallet to impress the letter or word onto the tin. A basic stamp box contains one stamp for each letter of the alphabet plus a the small mallet. Higher quality stamp boxes add stamps for commonly used words, such as articles and some prepositions, as well as extras of some of the most commonly used letters. Professional scribes and writers tend to add personalized stamps for words they use frequently in their work. A royal scribe who copies proclamations might have stamps for "In the year of our Lord" (in dwarfish of course) while a dry goods merchant might have a "bushels" stamp.   While the advantage of stamps is increased writing speed, the downside is that because the stamps deform the back of each page, only one side can normally be used for writing. This effect has giving rise to a specific form of dwarves poetry called mirror poetry. The aim of this form is to use the fact that many dwarves letters have vertical symmetry or are the reverses of other letters to write a poem reads normally on the front of the page, but also makes sense when the back of the page is read.


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