Compendium 3. Races b) Dwarves

Dwarves are a secretive race hidden underground, digging deeper and deeper always trying to find metal ore more precious and larger than the previous ones.

their first homes were the caves in the great mountain range Rachocokalon were there lived many families, tribes and clans.

They have slowly begun to smelt metals and craft them into objects of beauty and functionality having no need for weapons at that time.

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dwarves at their crafts.

They smithed, curved and worked stone being miners and stonemasons of unequaled skill.

They built great halls and lived there dedicated to their obsessions being craftsmen of unequaled quality.

Centuries passed without many dwarves rising up to the surface until they grow so large a population that it was difficult to feed all, their main food supply was an underground fungus which they tended themselves.

Thus begun the first immigration of the dwarves setting up new colonies which in return helped the older ones. Although the central first places from where they left were sacred and revered, many dwarves choose to leave in order to be masters of themselves and not succumbed to misery and famine.

Dwarves were created only under the great mountain range that split the continent into two halves but later spread in all the land of oyr occupying even the remote frozen north except the southern plains where only plains and jungle formed the landscape and not even hills existed, being durable and hard able to survive in almost every environment.

So many dwarves went outside their ancestral halls they searched and found the rest of the mountains and occupied them and rebuilt and expanded the caves they found and dug new ones as they mined deep into the earth but these dwarves of the colonies weren’t evolved as the old dwarves.

Thus passed the first two millenniums and then came the terror of beastmen.

Although they were protected in their underground fortresses beastmen rarely attacked them so they continued without change except for the few dwarves that traveled for trade or colonization and fell under the wrath of the beastmen but after a thousand years when  the terror of orcs was released in the land them being greedy and more intelligent begun using slaves digging or using tunnels and caves and weren’t afraid of heights like the beastmen.

Soon they found the dwarven halls and underground battles occurred.

Dwarves were not armed or armored in the beginning of the first orc war (except tools that in time of need could be used to defend oneself like hammers, mattocks, crowbars etc) and they and also were fewer in numbers and had no combat experience until that time, while orcs were countless and battle hardened with the cruel lives they had to take. The only advantage the dwarves had was that they were hardy and possessed with a great love for their underground dwellings which they fiercely protected and defended.

dwarvish_armor_by_turnermohan-d7hgbrm
this great artwork is made by TurnerMohan

 

Soon they learned to make weapons and armor and they were better protected and well-armed than the orcs that used any weapon they could steal and that were from humans that had at that time only bronze arms and beastmen who used flint, obsidian, wood and stone as materials.

the_battle_of_azanulbizar__ft__artigas_by_turnermohan-d9zosxx
orc dwarf wars this beautiful pic was found here.

Battles were merciless the orcs driven mad by the riches they found and the dwarves feeling polluted by the entrance to their homes of these mutants and fought to the last.

Many halls fell and were sacked but eventually, dwarves became battle experienced and begun to turn the tide, soon the halls grew silent again but the lament of the dwarves for their kin. the orcs that died were counted in many thousands but dwarves losses although less were harder to compensate.

After the first orc dwarf wars, the lands became free from the orc menace and dwarves began to recuperate slowly and left alone and undisturbed restored their damage and losses but never would the great dwarven halls echo from so many voices in the future.

But they had met the other children of the mother Oyr and their alliance was profitable for both as it would turn out.

After centuries they were many and rich again and their colonies had difficulties providing for all.

This time they were reluctant to immigrate and create new colonies so they tried to find another solution, they dug either deeper or higher.

The clans that dug deeper soon lost any feeling to return and lived in utter darkens forever, becoming white of skin shorter and weaker in stature but had riches beyond count. The ones that dug higher become better warriors fiercer, stronger, because they had many outlets in the sunny regions and had to defend these entrances from constant harassment of orcs, but also they could farm and had animals. The rest remain in between and traded with their cousins and all gained equally.

Eventually, they met the race of men who were coming out of barbarism learning to grow crops and tend animals but were still primitive in dwarven eyes but they lived in the open lands and had food aplenty.

So a reluctant alliance was formed and trade agreements were signed.

Only a few colonies the smaller and more remote ones were out of the alliance.

Soon the humans brought food stuff to the dwarves and received arms and armor of unequaled quality.

Some younger dwarves even ventured to go to human villages helping them constructing stone buildings and fortifications becoming rich and setting small communities that would live thereafter permanently in the open they even mingled with human females, not in marriage, but in breeding and many half-dwarfs were born. Because male dwarves wanted children but female dwarves were equally occupied with their crafts (mainly embroidery, sewing, painting and pottery and other household related activities) and most of them didn’t consider of having more than a couple of children or even none at all. But male dwarves wanted heir to raise and teach and pass their knowledge

Now that they didn’t need to worry about finding or growing food they dedicated themselves to creation.

Gold, silver, bronze, iron, jewels, precious stones were all manipulated in their deft hands and turned into objects of art and runes bound them and protected them for eternity.

Human kings and lords received gifts that become family heirlooms, weapons that could turn the tide of battle, armor that protected from harm or presents that adorned halls being worth many times the whole region’s production! while dwarves became fabulously rich.

But the dwarves never wanted the demon gods that came to humans, having their ancestors to worship and their crafts to set their minds to and receive praise and occupation, so the demons hated them and through dark magic and sinister ways send the orcs against them. Thus the second dwarf orc wars started, fighting underground unseen by human eyes these time the orcs were a multitude and the will that drove them was absolute evil and being hard pressed dwarves abandoned many strongholds and lost many warriors, but eventually they prevailed but their hatred for orcs runs deep and never will they stop harassing the terrible race or forgive them their sacrilege.

For another time the dwarves prevailed and slowly they regained most of their losses and grew complacent and remote again. they focused on their craft and trade and their halls were full of fortunes and riches.

With riches came greediness and then there was an even more conservative change.

Now dwarves began to price their products even higher and humans tried to counter this with offers of more delicious foods but they were unsuccessful.

Finally, a beer maker sends a batch to the dwarven lords.

Dwarfs drunk only water, till then, from underground fountains and were unfamiliar to alcohol but the strong drink went well to their dour demeanor and priced it high and esteemed it even higher.

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dwarf enjoying a pint or two!

So new deals were made and human beer makers were
rich while dwarves drink to their fill abandoning their vigilance
and craft making.

Thus begun the third orc wars.

Orcs had multiplied living in areas near the hills never forgetting the riches they had heard there existed in the dwarf halls.

This time war was fought both underground and in the open human allies helping their ill-begotten friends because orcs threatened them as well.

Battles were many and cruel until in the north of what later become the kingdom of tragis there was a final battle two orc armies descending from the hills surrounding the combine human and dwarven host.

The orcs were many but the allies were determined so the battle went well into the night and as the enemies reluctantly by midnight fall away from each other they didn’t know what had happened and which side won.

By morning the valley was so full of bodies that none could walk on the ground.

The orc host was shaken seeing so many dead and left while humans and dwarves had many casualties their victory was a fact and the lands were peaceful for many years until Brugar came (but that is another story). 

Dwarves live many years but there is no average, as dwarves dwelt deep in themselves and if something happens they may die in days otherwise dwarves if possessed can live for centuries. Usually, they become tired after their four hundredth year. Most adorn their long hair and beard, noses and ears with jewelry but the most important jewel is the century a thick brand that gathers their beards and it indicates their age. They had detailed archives on births and dates and there are yearly clan celebrations to award the recipients the centuries are made by clan smiths are inscribed with the dwarfs name his father’s and his clan as well as the year of the award and after they receive the following one they are reserved in the clan’s temple.

  • A small iron one at fifty when they become adults.

At that time the real training begins (leaving the family manor and entering the clan’s halls) and they enter an apprenticeship in the clan’s craftsmen, they also receive military training as essential part of being a clansdwarf. when they progress in their trade they may live as journeymen for a while to earn money fame and travel  although many stay at home.

  • A thicker bronze one at hundred when they become mature adults.

By now they must be masters in their trade and may be eligible to start family most don’t, although a later law states that no elder status will be given to bachelors.

In the army, they are placed in specific units where they serve for the rest of their lives and the craftsmen are ready to start their own workshop.

  • A double silver one at two hundred when are considered elders.

Now most pursue either perfection in their crafts and they sought high mastery they either are named captains of units and pass most of their time in the training of new recruits or participate in the elder council of their clan taking decisions or are send as envoys and many other official clan obligations.

  • A triple gold one at three hundred years when they become venerable

At this age, they are head of the high mastery council and test masters they are colonels in the army or participate in the kingdom mix councils where all tribes take part.

Beyond three-century-old the few dwarves that endure the world are considered clan wisdoms and stop count or receive any other award, although quadruple and quintuple  platinum ones are being considered lately and are being distributed because due to problems many dwarves decide to cling to the world and offer their help.

Wisdoms act only as observers or counselors abandoning any official titles except generals tribe chieftains and kings runemasters and any other special duties.

Dwarves aging although becoming slower and heavier they remain hale in body and mind and many dwarf heroes fought after two or three and even more centuries of military service when they decide to die they lie in their well-appointed and prepared tomb with their most precious and well-liked objects and they are sealed alive while the clan celebrates outside

Death in battle sickness or accident is considered bad but heroes and warriors are celebrated and a plaquette in the clan’s temple telling the name deeds place of death and date of the hero is put greater heroes receive statues from small ones to life size according to deeds and their consequences to clan history and life (these statues are built by family members and the material depends on the individual’s preferences in life). 

The evolving of dwarves was slow but it produced four distinct sub-races that after centuries of separate living and socializing they grew to be very different from each other in appearance and demeanor although they spoke the same ancient language worshiped the same ancestor spirits and behave deep inside as one race!

So four subraces were after centuries of distant living and necessity:

  1. The deep dwarves were blue-white skinned with white hair with poor eyesight and some were even blind, they had hoards of gems and jewels although they didn’t use weapons since they rarely fought or enemy can reach them so deeply. But their gem cutting and jewel making skills were beyond comparison. Their stature is shorter and lighter at 3,5 feet tall 150 lbs weight than other dwarves, they are noiseless creatures living centuries working with great detail and hoarding huge treasures. Their numbers are small since they rarely mate but had no enemies so they slowly increase. For their diet they found a fungus growing in the deeps and are keeping commerce at a minimum, they don’t drink their fingers are so nimble they can create fabulous objects of extreme detail and many blind ones are even more so gifted. Finally, their rune magic is mediocre at best.
  2. The high dwarves are tall robust and strong usually 4,5-5 feet tall 250 lbs weight most are warriors and merchants farmers and craftsmen they have fortifications in the hills and sometimes they even have found elves but they choose to ignore each other they are not best in crafts and not use runes but they provide fighters and merchants they grow vines and they are the only that drink wine also they are the more family dwarves having more children but more casualty rates
  3. Old dwarves are the standard initial dwarf race their stature about 4,5 feet tall 225 lbs weight they live underground they excel in crafts and runes and they cooperate with humans they are not overly fond of outside but they won’t hide from the sun they are average warriors and had a weak spot for beer  they are immensely rich because they trade with their reluctant cousins in the deeps and when a successful dwarf brings something from the deep it is so expensive that he decides to keep it instead of selling it although rare trade is done when the deep dwarves luck of something
  4. City dwarves are a mix of old and high dwarves with a deeper complexion more robust and strong and the best in socializing, they are rich but not incredibly so, they love humans and many have half-dwarves children, they drink and eat like humans, they are merchants, mercenaries and craftsmen, while few are runemasters becoming rich selling amulets enchanting weapons and jewels.
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