Dwarves

Dwarves

Dwarves are another of the elder races of Nor, though one that is in peril. They can trace their history back to the time of the overlords. Dwarves are said to have an innate connection to the earth. Some say it accounts for their stubbornness and Stoic natures. These days Dwarves are a dying race. They have a very very low birth rate. In fact, there are no known Dwarves under the age of 50. Only their long lifespans have saved them from being extinct as a race. Some think it is natural progression that the race is dying out because they have not been able to evolve; Others believe there is a more sinister reason that there have been no new Dwarves births.
Dwarves typically live to about 350 years old. They are usually 4=5 feet tall and stocky; their limbs are thick and corded with muscle. Even portly dwarves have a lot of muscle underneath any flabby parts. Dwarves usually have ruddy skin, and coarse hair, ranging from black to red. Blond haired dwarves are rare, except for the dwarves of the Icewall, who tend to be fairer. Because of the dwarves sticky frame some people tend to think they have a lot less mobility then humans, for example, but that is simply not true, to the regret of anyone who has faced a dwarven blademaster. Most dwarves favor wearing the most efficient articles they can, regardless of comfort or style. For dwarven this usually relates to the heaviest armor they can.

Habitat
Dwarves favor large underground communities. They prefer mountainous terrain, as the rock makes a more stable building material and a better source of the minerals they use for crafting and commerce. The largest settlement, Thoradon, fell to a dragon invasion, and now Dwarves are even more scattered rare. Usually the communities are broken into sections based on the type of work done as well as the families that live there. Because of this many families have an associated profession with it. Families that are primarily miners live in the section next to the mines with other mining families, etc.
Communities are often monarchies with a stable line of succession. should a king die without an heir, which is much more common than with other races, the dwarves actually choose a new king, usually from the most famous dwarves in the community.
Dwarves are very efficient. They are very rigid thinkers and often focus fully on a task. because of this they have often found very efficient way of performing anything. Dwarves also have a strong sense of tenacity. One they focus on a task they work towards it relentlessly. This has a strong secondary effect on dwarves. It makes them very resistant to change. T=Dwarves will often speak about their great respect for traditions, and practiced way to hide a deep inability to adapt well. They also have a strong stubborn streak. A dwarf will continue to do something a certain way despite the fact there may be a more efficient way, simply because they will not accept that after years of doing something, they are not doing it the best way possible.
A dwarf can go a long time without food or drink, but when they do get it, then can have a voracious appetite. They have the ability to eat a lot and store that energy for long periods of work. A dwarf’s diet consists of the meat of creatures hunted in the tunnels like rothe, and fungus and vegetable grown on moist walls.

Religion
Dwarven priest are rare, and mostly worship Oxor, or Utua. Sometimes one will take up worship of the One especially if the community has had to deal with demons or devils. Dwarves in general are spiritual, often revering the souls of their ancestors.

Society
As stated above a lot about the dwarfs’ attitude have to do with their strong focus to an ideal. Dwarves feel that it is important to leave something behind when they are gone. Especially now that they feel their time is running short, That is one of the reason that they devote so much to their crafting. They know that if they build or create something great it will outlast them and leave a legacy behind so people remember them. Dwarves usually start learning a craft as soon as they are old enough to hold a tool. They will usually be trained in the skill their family is known for, but it is not that rare for a dwarf with little aptitude to be sent to another family to learn a different craft. After a dwarf finishes his apprenticeship he goes on a small journey and spends some time alone. When he comes back him family will usually have a wife picked for him. Because there are many more males than females dwarves, only the dwarves who are considered the top of their class are usually arranged for a=marriage. Others prepare for a life of loneliness… Dwarven females have is tougher. They are coddled from birth, and much of their young life is completely controlled to protect them and ensure they reach the age where they can have children, Dwarves’ strong sense of tradition make it possible for them to accept this life even if it would not be their first choice,

Dwarves
Dwarves have always defined themselves through their hard work and skill with their hands. Many humans say that they have a deep, innate connection with the earth itself, and that this explains their traditions of mining and craftsmanship.
Dwarves are one of the oldest races of Nor. They claim that they are the oldest, older even than the elves, but few outside their tunnels will agree with them about that. Dwarves have stories about themselves going back to the days of the Overlords, most of which tell of their ability to avoid the worst of the troubles of the era by living and working underground. These stories also contain plenty of long, lovingly detailed accounts of elven treachery and double-dealing, which is the dwarves’ explanation for the two races’ tradition of hostility and mistrust.
In general, dwarves take great pride in their racial reputation. They agree with the view that they are the best workers of stone and steel that Nor has ever seen, and consider all other races’ various attempts to imitate them to be more or less pathetic. Their opinion on the elves’ preference for wood and other natural materials is lower still….
Dwarves are a long-lived race compared to humans or Halflings, though not elves. They can expect to live to 350 years old if left to their own devices. Physically, they are shorter and stockier than humans and their limbs are thick and corded with muscle. Even portly dwarves have a lot of muscle underneath any flabby parts. Dwarves usually have ruddy skin, and coarse hair, ranging from black to red. Blonde haired dwarves are rare, except for the dwarves of the Icewall, who tend to be fairer. They are not noticeably less agile than humans, but their shorter legs limit their speed quite a bit.
These days Dwarves are a dying race. They have a very low birth rate. In fact, there is no current record of a Dwarf under the age of 50. Only their long lifespans have saved them from being extinct as a race. No-one has yet proved the reason for this, though there are a number of theories. Some contend that the dwarves offended a god (the identity of the god depends on who’s telling the story), others that there is an ancient curse from the days of the Overlords that has finally begun to affect them completely. Some dwarves contend that the problem is more elven treachery, though they do not explain how this would work.
Trying to discover the source of this problem is a common object of research for the race. Dwarves from all communities have spent considerable time trying to determine the source of the problem, but none have yet succeeded, or indeed even made noticeable progress towards a solution.

Habitat
Dwarves favor large underground communities. They prefer mountainous terrain, as the rock makes a more stable building material and a better source of the minerals they use for crafting and commerce. The long lives, work ethic and sheer skill of the dwarves allow these settlements to grow to substantial size, despite having to be manually tunneled out of the solid rock.
The settlements are usually broken into sections based on the type of work done as well as the families that live there. Because of this, most families come to be associated with a single profession. Before the recent collapse of the birth rate, this led to a tradition of passing crafting skills down from generation to generation is surely a large reason for the dwarves’ aptitude in these fields. The deep stubbornness dwarves are famous for means that an individual will work for as long as necessary (and often longer) to complete a task. Dwarven culture values producing the best possible item, one capable of lasting centuries, over efficiency and the ability to produce a number of serviceable items in the same amount of time.
Dwarves feel that it is important to leave something behind when they are gone, even more so now that many feel their time is running short. They know that if they build or create something great it will outlast them and leave a legacy behind so people remember them, and their descendants (should they have any) will have ancestors to be proud of.
The practice of learning through family apprenticeship, with no real schools or academies of the kind found in human or elven settlements, often leads to a lack of new ideas. Dwarven culture already puts great emphasis on respect for the master craftsmen of previous generations, and the deep stubbornness found in many of them exacerbates this issue. While it is true that the traditional way usually works, it is surely impossible that no dwarf could think of better ideas. Sheer pride also contributes to this, as many dwarves simply cannot admit that they may have something to learn about their family craft – especially from someone outside the family.
After a male dwarf finishes his apprenticeship he goes on a small journey and spends some time alone. When he comes back him family will usually have a wife picked for him. Because there are many more males than females dwarves, only the dwarves who are considered the top of their class are usually arranged for a marriage. Others prepare for a life of loneliness. Dwarven females have is tougher. They are coddled from birth, and much of their young life is completely controlled to protect them and ensure they reach the age where they can have children, Dwarves strong sense of tradition make it possible for them to accept this life even if it would not be their first choice,
Communities are often monarchies with a stable line of succession. Should a king die without an heir, which is much more common than with other races (especially recently), the dwarves actually choose a new king, usually from the most famous dwarves in the community. A dwarf can go a long time without food or drink, but when they do get it, then can have a voracious appetite. They have the ability to eat a lot and store that energy for long periods of work. A dwarf’s diet consists of the meat of creatures hunted in the tunnels like rothe, and fungus and vegetable grown on moist walls. In addition, they regularly trade the products of their mining and manufacturing to other (usually human) settlements for more food. They never trade their best items, though.
Religion
Dwarves tend to revere the spirits of their ancestors, especially great craftsmen and warriors, rather than gods directly. Those who do worship gods usually choose Oxor or Utua. Every dwarven settlement has a temple to Oxor, and these structures (as might be expected) are invariably among the architectural marvels of the world. In addition, the weapons or other instruments made by priests through their Makings are possibly the finest such items to be found anywhere. Dwarves never allow these to fall into the hands of other races voluntarily.
In some areas, dwarves have taken to the One. The older version of this god has considerable appeal to a people who tend to view the world as full of enemies, and who are certainly willing to go to war as needed. The Alexandrite version of the faith has little appeal to the dwarves.
Military
Dwarves do not fight many wars against humans, or even elves. This is because neither of those races has much interest in the dwarves’ mountain homes, and they are usually content to leave the dwarves alone and trade with them peacefully. However, there are plenty of other creatures that do share the mountains, and dwarves do not generally deal well with them. As a result, all dwarven settlements are built for defense, with strong gates and numerous internal chokepoints and barriers to impede invaders.
The decline in birth rates has affected dwarves here especially. A society with no young people cannot really afford to fight, and so dwarves have been forced to abandon a number of their settlements over recent decades.
Magic
Dwarves are not a magical race. While they certainly are capable of the dedication required by wizardry, they do not like the flexibility of thought required to use it to best advantage. In addition, they regard it as a poor substitute for real, honest work – and the associations of magic with elves doesn’t help.
Sorcerers occur among the dwarves, though less often than among other races. The influences of strange bloodlines occur as they do among other folk. However, such events show that the family of the dwarf in question is not purely dwarven. This is usually quite embarrassing, and often causes the dwarf in question to either leaves the city and travel or hide his talents as best he can.
Prominent Settlements
The largest of the dwarven settlements, and the traditional seat of their greatest kings, was Thoradon. Located in the mountains between Lain and Eroth, the city could trace its origins back to the underground refuges built to escape the Overlords. It resisted the monsters and armies of Takhene, from both Lain and Condor, for many years. Numerous sieges were mounted by orcs and their allies from the west, and the human armies of the Great Queens of Lain from the east. Neither could make a significant dent in the dwarves’ superbly built defenses, but eventually a force of dragons succeeded in breaking through and killing or chasing off the inhabitants. What led to such an unprecedented force being assembled is still not clear, though most suspect Takhene and her clergy of involvement.
Zhufbar was a smaller settlement, located further south than Thoradon. It, too, was regularly besieged by forces loyal to Takhene, as her clergy sough to remove the pockets of creatures that refused to bow before her from the midst of her domains. As the city was never anywhere near the size of Thoradon, it could not afford such defenses. Eventually, it fell before the hordes of orcs flowing from the west, leaving the dwarves’ greatest temple to Utua abandoned and presumably desecrated. Occasional stories tell of the foul creatures created when the Mother of Monsters and her mortal aides were able to work with and corrupt dwarven stock….
Karadin is the third of the great dwarven cities built along the mountains east of Eroth. It is far enough north to have escaped the attentions of Takehene’s forces, or at least most of them. While the city is suffering from the same depression that looms over the rest of the dwarven people, it still stands. There are portions of the city that are more or less ghost towns now, but the inhabitants continue to work as they always have. This city, more than any other, trades metals and manufactured items to Eroth (and sometime to several of the Free Cities) in exchange for food, cloth and other products that are difficult to make from solid rock. The city also has a long tradition of itinerant architects and stoneworkers who travel through the human lands around them to profit from their legendary expertise. They have left a number of the most admired buildings in both Eroth and the Free Cities, but also provoke a considerable amount of resentment among the humans who feel displaced by them.
Azgal is built in the mountains in southern Verdentor. Verdentor prides itself on its military, and fights endless wars against its human neighbors. Their opinion of the dwarves is no different, and the dwarves of Azgal have had to fight repeatedly to preserve their independence. Historically, they took pride in their long record of resistance to the hordes from the North. However, the steady decline in population over recent decades has caused them to lose confidence in their ability to continue the fight. Therefore, they have reluctantly agreed to supply the armies of their ancient enemy with weapons and armor in exchange for an end to the assaults. The Verdish proclaim that Azgal is now subservient to them, merely another province within their great empire. The dwarves do not agree, but, though it deeply offends them to do so, feel unable to say so publicly.

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