The Sons of Stone Edit
Seemingly cut from the stones of their beloved earth, the dwarves of Nyrondie are a tough and stubborn race, known for their stoicism and hardiness. Calling themselves the Kar Tora, or Stone Sons, dwarves have dwelt beneath the earth for millennia. They have taken on the characteristics of the stones around them, embracing tradition and order, over individualism. Most dwarves live over four hundred years, with the oldest dwarves making it to the end of their fifth century.
All dwarves share most essential qualities, with very little diversity among them, when considered against humans or halflings. The primary difference between dwarves is upbringing. Those raised above the surface are called Hill Dwarves, while those raised in the Underdark are called Mountain Dwarves. They differ very little in appearance, and it is nearly impossible to tell the difference between them, even for other dwarves. Still, the difference in upbringing and education has a profound effect on their lives, and dwarves will identify themselves to one another as Deep Born or Surface Born all their lives.
Mountain Dwarves Edit
The Deep Born, or Mountain Dwarves are by far the more numerous of the two "sub-races". Raised in darkness, the Deep Born are trained to fight their deep foes, of which there are many, from an early age. The necessary military training and hard life gives the deep born great strength and toughness. They are trained with weapons and armor, and every Deep Born knows how to fight.
Their hair and beards display a color variety as wide as humans, but their eyes are always dark brown. They stand about four feet tall, but weigh about as much as a human does. They remain active well into the twilight of their lives, and only the very oldest Deep Born are no longer able to swing an axe or throw a spear.
Hill Dwarves Edit
Raised in the sunlit world, the Surface Born or Hill Dwarves are usually the children of merchants, craftsmen, and blacksmiths who left the delves to make a better life for themselves among the other races. They are not very common, for most dwarves do not leave their delves unless necessary. To do so is to break from tradition, which no ordinary dwarf would do under normal circumstances. Still, there is no terrible social stigma for those who do, as most dwarves understand that necessity drives events as much as tradition does.
Dwarven Realms EditBeneath the surface of Nyrondie lies a vast network of caverns and tunnels, known as the Underdark. These tunnels extend deep into the earth and are filled with many strange and wondrous things. Amidst these wonders of the deep stand massive dwarven delves and impregnable fortresses. Very few upworlders have ever seen these masterpieces of architecture and craftsmanship. The greatest of these kingdoms lie beneath the Shield Mountains in northeastern Nyrondie and the Aerie Mountains in the west. Dwarves are also a fairly common sight in the Grand March, and in the Free Cities of Nammon's Bay, and there are a fair number in Theyonwy and Averistra. Dwarves are unheard of in Stelyth and Dyan.
Relations With Other Races Edit
Dwarves tend to be fairly isolated in their mountain kingdoms, although a fair amount of trade occurs with Surface Born dwarves, who make their living moving caravans of goods back and forth from the dwarven kingdoms to the other realms.
- Humans - Dwarves see humans as too chaotic and unpredictable to be relied upon. They admire their courage and tenacity, but are bemused by human curiosity and ambition. However, they share a love of fine things and precious metals, and most dwarves are forced to admit the skill some humans possess in metalworking and stonecutting.
- Elves - Both dwarves and elves share a mutual respect for one another, and for nature. They understand the importance of family, and the clan, and know not to put immediate gain before future prosperity. However, elves are too interested in personal expression and isolated freedom.
- Halflings - Dwarves understand little of the halfling nature. They are roamers and nomads by choice, something most dwarves cannot even understand. Further, halflings often leave their families to strike out on their own completely, showing a shocking lack of respect for the clan. Still, halflings are brave, if often a bit foolhardy, and good enough to have as allies in a fight.
- Gnomes - Of all the races, gnomes are the one that dwarves are most willing to accept into their own delves and cities. Gnomes have a knack for artifice, something the dwarves prize highly, and even if they have to put up with the occasional foolishness that gnomes exhibit, it is a small price to pay for the wonders that come about when dwarves and gnomes put their minds together.
- Dragonborn - Dwarves admire the strength and tenacity which the dragonborn exhibit. Their devotion to clan is also something dwarves admire and understand, and the desire for personal honor in serving the clan is another shared trait.However, where a dragonborn seeks out conflict and enjoys battle for its own sake, dwarves see glory in battle coming from service to one's clan. The greatest honor a dwarf can achieve is to die defending his home from attack.
Relations Between Dwarves Edit
Dwarves see other dwarves as brothers, regardless of where they were born, and will gravitate towards other dwarves in most situations. Beards are important to dwarves, and they are seen as a method of identifying each other, for each clan has a distinct way of styling their beards, which families within that clan will use as a baseline, while adding their own distinct aspects. Any dwarf who shaves his beard is seen as a pariah, who has abandoned tradition. No ordinary dwarf would trust a clean-shaven kinsman.
Religion and Magic Edit
Dwarves revere the Stonefather, Killesh. He is the father of their pantheon, which includes the other Divines as well. Many hill dwarves, especially those in the southern realms, take up the worship of Istra, but under the name of Kel Isra. No dwarf in his right mind would ever worship Batta, the dwarven name for Ungit.
Few dwarves take to the arcane arts, and even fewer dwarves demonstrate wild arcane magic. However, quite a few dwarves study the true names of the things of stone. These dwarven "druids", or geomancers, shape the stone around their delves and form wondrous caverns and magnificent stone formations.
Of all the races, dwarves are the most likely to be granted divine magic. The Stonefather sees many exemplars among his faithful and rewards them duly. These clerics and paladins seek out the dark places of the world to bring the Light of Killesh and drive forth the evil things. Tales of these warriors abound in dwarven folklore, and some of their greatest heroes are paladins of Killesh.