Dwarves

Average Lifespan: 850 years
Average Height: 4’5” – 5 feet
Average Healthy Weight: 120 – 200 pounds
Pregnancy Duration: 9 months

Courageous and proud, the Dwarves have always been a major power in Valindir for as long as anyone can remember. They are an industrious people, crafting some of the finest blades in the world, as well as being productive miners. Fiercely loyal to any the call friend, the Dwarves have secured negotiations with the rest of Valindir, but as their enemies can tell you, they are not a race to be trifled with. The Dwarven culture has adopted an intense reverence towards rituals and traditions, which the rest of the world has called superstition, but they dismiss any such implications and have held fast to their way of life. Accused of being paranoid and cloistered, the Dwarves insist that they are open to new ideas and ways of life, as long as the fall in line with the old ones. While some view this as stubbornness, any Dwarf will tell you they are just simply staying with that they know to be true, proved by how successful their people have been.

Physical Characteristics

Standing only four and a half to five feet in height, the Dwarves are among one of the shortest races in the known world, save for the pixies. This has never stopped them however, and they never make an excuse for their short stature. Most Dwarves weigh between a hundred and twenty to two hundred pounds, and tend to be of a stockier, broader build than others. Even their women tend to be strung with muscle, as no one is excused from work on the basis of what’s between their legs. It is often joked that their women even grow beards, but this is incredibly rare, and the men are normally the only ones who grow facial hair. Men often adorn their beards with intricate braids that are strung with metal chains or even gemstones, while the women practice the same, only with their hair. Most allow their body hair to grow wherever it comes in and shaving is seen as an odd practice that outsiders do. They believe if one was not supposed to have hair there, it wouldn’t grow there, to shave it off is seen as a disgrace.

Brands have become a prevalent form of expression, and most Dwarves have several, starting from the age they reach adulthood. It is considered a rite of passage into adulthood to be able to stand the pain of hot iron permanently marking ones flesh. The first brand any Dwarf receives is the crest of his clan, denoting which people he belongs and calls family. After that, it is always an individual’s choice for the rest of their markings, but it is common practice to get family surnames and one’s chosen profession. It is said that a Dwarf can have a silent conversation with another just by studying the brands that person has chosen to adorn his or her body with.

History

The Dwarves were painstakingly constructed for years before Gorin finally felt he had gotten the race exactly right. Originally the Dwarves had been taller than any Elf, but Gorin noticed they had trouble traveling through narrow tunnels. He then made them short and wiry, but he then realized they could not bear the weight to carve out their homes and roadways. It was then that their stocky build was crafted by their father, and he was finally pleased that they were perfect. It was then that the Dwarves began carving out the passageways through their ancestral home in the Khabren Mountains. The God of Honor and Loyalty helped them lay the plans for what is now their vast kingdom, and helped them learn to carve stone into bricks. Afterwards, Gorin began to teach them the ways to work metal into all manner of things, including some of the finest weapons in the realm.

When Al’Drenra began, the Dwarves looked upon it with disgust and contempt, seeing it as dishonorable and petty. They were content to wait out the war in their stone fortresses among the mountains, until other races began to seek refuge in their tunnels. Most notably, the Kithras began to camp out in what is now Soluma, and some even made it all way to their capital city of Mikklagaard. They became beggars on the streets, and Gorin looked upon them and became infuriated. It was then they he had his people slaughter any outsiders and they began trading with other races. The Orcs and the Dwarves established a working friendship, as the Dwarves would supply them with weapons and armor, and the Orcs would then patrol their borders. As time drew on, and the Orcs were called away to other places, the Dwarves looked to the Elves and Gryphons to keep others out of their business, and started trading with them as well. Because of the Orc’s disloyalty, more races became armed with Dwarven craftsmanship for their battles.

After Al’Drenra had ended, the Dwarves returned to their simpler way of life, and uniting all the Dwarves under one banner was Queen Mikrega. She was able to quiet the rumblings between families and unite the Dwarves as they had never been before. It was from that day forth that a woman was chosen to rule, and it was always the eldest daughter of the queen. It is said that the previous queen would always reincarnate as the princess, and learn her role over again. For this reason, the princess was never allowed to marry or bear children until her mother had passed on and she had become queen, and so the two rulers had traded off in that manner for hundreds of years. However, this all came to an abrupt end in 4127, when a cave in at the palace killed both Queen Gogilma, and her only daughter, Princess Taeligren. Her five sons attempted to try and rule, but they quarreled and squabbled among each other, and so they each split off from one another. To this day, no one has been able to reunite the five clans formed by the five princes, but many Dwarves wait and pray for the day that the true queens will return and bring their fractured people back together.

Culture and Religion

The Dwarven culture has always been one steeped in ritual and tradition. To break with social norms and do what one wants is considered disgraceful, and has gotten several Dwarves kicked out of Bröndólfr without any chance of reinstatement. All Dwarves are required, by law, to be followers of the Path of the Elements, and to even speak the name a god that is not an Avatar, or that of the reviled Nolan LeDeare, is enough to be exiled in shame. The Dwarves see the Elements as the rightful creators of the world, as well as saviors to all mortals, so to not show them their due respect is ungrateful. Several of their superstitions come out of their worship and love for the Elements and they follow them as religiously. While different clans each practice and believe in different rituals, there are a few that have survived since the days of the monarchy that all follow. Dwarves tend to adorn their doorways with spices, coins, incense, or anything else that the Dwarf considers a good omen. Each doorway is always individualized, and it is said to ward away any malignant spirits that may try to harm those inside the house. One can often tell which Elements a family generally follows by the adornments on their doorway, and tell the personality of the owner by how it has been arranged.

Marriage and sex have always been topics that the Dwarves have been absolutely sure on what is right and wrong, and they have not changed their ways in thousands of years. Before one is married, they are permitted to court whomever they choose, and often brag about how many people they have bedded. After marriage however, a Dwarf is expected to stay monogamous, and to disgrace that sacred bond is enough to be publicly shamed. Homosexuality is not permitted in any way, as it is seen as an affront to their original design to practice what is seen as filthy and vile. While there have been Dwarves who were gay, they were exiled from their homes, and never permitted to return, and rumors of stoning have been muttered in dark allies, but no one knows if this is true or not.

To this day, the clans of the five princes quarrel with one another, and it is not often that they intermingle, save for trading purposes. Outsiders have mistaken that the Dwarves enjoy this civil unrest, and that one day a single clan will rise up and take over the vacant throne. Any Dwarf would balk at this idea, as all of the desire to be joined as one country again, but no leader has ever been able to accommodate all the demands like the queens of old could. However, the Dwarves have not given up completely on one day restoring the rightful queens, and believe that somewhere in the world the two are simply living out their lives, unaware of what they truly are. Every fifty years, mothers and their eldest daughters come together at Mikklagaard to take the Ga’Deshka, meaning “the true test” to see if they are the reincarnations of the queens. While no ruler has led the people from the palace, the servants and advisers families have remained ever vigilant, and maintain the upkeep of the grounds for their return. It is this circle of advisers that have devised questions that only the true queens would know, as well as other tests that are shrouded in secrecy. So far, no one has presented as the true incarnations of the queens, but they are ever vigilant in their quest to find her.

Geography

While Bröndólfr is officially recognized as the name of the country, and Mikklagaard its capital, most Dwarves identify themselves by clan. The country has been divided up into five territories, will all of them converging on the capital, the only place the clans ever cohabit or intermingle.

Brengolix Clan – Making their homes in the northeastern section of Bröndólfr are those that hail from the line of Prince Gagresh. Brengolix literally means “those who dwell in fire” and the finest weapon and armor smiths have set up their shops and schools in this area. While all areas of Dwarven lands produce all types of metalwork, it is said the wares from the Brengolix Clan are the finest in all of Valindir. The sign of their clan is an anvil wreathed in flame.

Ulfaedir Clan – Those in this lucrative clan have made their home in the northern section of Bröndólfr and hail from the line of Prince Tulfroden. They have made their specialty in two areas: trade and alcohol, and are incredibly talented at both. Most of the Dwarven ales and other alcoholic staples of their culture are made by this clan, whose name literally means “those who create bounty” and they are often the Dwarves that go out into the world to trade it. The sign of their clan is a ram.

Frodulkin Clan – Mining has been the lifeblood of this western Dwarven Clan since the day Prince Dardaelin set foot in its tunnels. The riches sources of metal and minerals have been deposited here and they excel at harvesting this bounty from the rocks. Literally meaning “those who forge the path” it is interpreted that these are the people who led by example for the other clans, because they are the hardest workers. The sign of their clan is a pickaxe in front of mountains.

Duradel Clan – Carving out the area around Thorsa Lake in Bröndólfr, which they believe is a holy, sacred site, is this Dwarven clan descended from Prince Jorgel. While other Dwarves may focus on physical prowess or craftsmanship, those in the Duradel Clan find their calling in knowledge, literature and religion. Many scribes, sages, and priests make up this society, whose name means “those who understand.” The sign of their clan is cut gemstone.

Grogaelik Clan – Focusing on physical and magical prowess, this clan that was descended from Prince Fardan has set up their territory in the southeastern section of Dwarven lands. Believing that the other clans are not ready for war (which those in the Grogaelik Clan see as inevitable) they have practiced the art of battle, and are viewed as the Dwarven military. The sign of their clan is an axe and a hammer that are crossed over like an X.

Relations with Other Races

Dwarves have not been terribly accepting of cultures other than their own, and have sought to keep themselves separate from the rest of Valindir. However, at times they are willing to do some trading, and thus have developed opinions of the people they interact with. Its noted that one is more likely to see a Dwarf outside his home, than an outsider in a Dwarven home.

Alubra – While the Dwarves begrudgingly agreed to have the Alubra act as a buffer between the Kithras and Dwarves, they are still not impressed with their neighbors to the west. Seen as choosing the lesser of two evils, the Dwarves see the Alubra as foolish and naive, but otherwise not a present danger to their society.

Centaurs – Centaurs are always welcome among the Dwarves, as they feel they are the only ones who truly understand how harsh and barbaric others can be. The see Centaurs as hardworking and dedicated people who still know how to enjoy the simple things that life offers.

Danava – The Dwarves enjoy a healthy symbiosis with the Danava, even though they are not too fond of their imperialistic ideals and culture. The Dwarves offer bits of cut gemstones into Thorsa Lake, and the Danava have been obliged to make sure their waterways run smoothly and stay free of any poisons or blockages that might hamper the Dwarves ability to work.

Daphinae – Sharing a drink or two over song or story is about as much interaction as a Dwarf can stand with this wilder race. They are viewed as somewhat feral and uncultured, bringing chaos and disruption wherever they go with their animal antics.

Drakien – Pitied as one of the races that were heinously slighted, Drakiens have always found friends among the Dwarves. Many outsiders credit this with the Dwarves healthier relationship with Dragons, and would have no reason to fear a race that might one day transform back into a winged beast of the sky.

Elves – It is no secret that the Dwarves and Elves have never liked one another, but have had a trading relationship for as long as anyone can remember. The stones of the Eleven capital city, Enaryn, came from the Dwarves, and they are not ones to let them forget it. They see the pomp and prim nature of the Elves as a veil to cover up their inferior nature, both in brains and brawn.

Gryphon – Dwarves cannot understand why a clearly powerful race like the Gryphon could ever choose to serve a people like the Elves. For that, they are seen as fools, no wiser than any animal, and are often looked upon like a house cat or lapdog: a domesticated creature with no fight left in them.

Humans – Greedy and covetous are two terms that go hand in hand with Humans, at least for the Dwarves. It was a great controversy when some of the clan began trading with them at Mikklagaard, but they have proven to be a lucrative partner and at least trustworthy in that respect.

Kithras – Vile tricksters and murderous liars, the Dwarves would be overjoyed if every Kithra were to drop dead. They are viewed as being manipulators and thieves, and murmurings of a war brewing between the two have been whispered throughout the years. Whether or not that is true, it is no secret that the Dwarves despise the Kithras with every fiber of their being.

Kren – Kren are seen as orderly and level-headed, although a bit stuffy at times. The Dwarves thoroughly love trying to get them to loosen up over a mug of Dwarven ale, and the two cultures have enjoyed a healthy trading relationship, as well as a lasting friendship.

Melrog – Dwarves don’t see the Melrog as a different race at all, but an extension or evolution of the Dwarves themselves. It was the Dwarves and Humans that created them, and they are always welcomed as part of the Dwarven people and are allowed to own homes, have families and be a part of their clans and government.

Minotaur – Because of their deep ties with the Humans, the Dwarves are still wary of the Minotaurs, but respect them for being so loyal and honorable in their endeavors. Dwarves have tried to secure them as military allies, but have unfortunately discovered they are a peaceful people, not interested in money or power.

Mithyrn – While Dwarves may have been the ones to discover the Mithyrn it is safe to say they weren’t incredibly pleased about it. They have partnered with their underground neighbors to explore the tunnel systems that may one day connect their two countries. However, Dwarves primarily do this to make sure the Mithyrn aren’t secretly trying to invade their homeland.

Orcs – Allies and friends, the Dwarves have made it habit to trade with the Orcs, despite the threats of an embargo from the Elves. Orcs have never given the Dwarves cause not to trade with them, however, it’s often noted that except for trade, the two races don’t often interact.

Sidhe – The Dwarves hold a deep reverence for the Sidhe like most of Valindir, but they are still suspicious of a people that so willingly help others without wanting something in return. Anytime a Sidhe does something for a Dwarf, they ensure to give them a gift, not out of thanks, but to ensure that if the Sidhe ever decided others were indebted to them, the Dwarves would not be counted as one of them.

Senai – Not much is known about the Senai by Dwarves, but from what they do understand of them, they have been pleased with. They like that they are a people that keep to themselves and are not constantly meddling in the affairs of others, which makes them kindred spirits in the eyes of the Dwarves.

Talmori – Talmori are to be pitied because their minds have been so warped and tainted by the Lithorians that they no longer can tell truth from lies. While pity may be in order, that is not to say that any Dwarf would allow a “Lithorian spy” to come poking about in their business.

Language

Since the first moment of their creation, the Dwarves have spoken Frongdl and have been deeply offended when anyone other than the Melrog has tried to speak it to them. The Dwarves adopted common so they didn’t have to listen to people try and butcher their language, not to be more social with the outside world.

Names

Dwarves often borrow from names in the past and mix them together, hoping that their children will inherit something great from the original name holder. A Dwarf’s surname, or last name, is also of crucial importance, and anyone who does not have one is seen as an outsider and is not welcome in Dwarven society.

Male Names: Ulfgar, Brottor, Gringar

Female Names: Ilde, Torgga, Diesa

Player Difficulty Level

Moderate – Their culture can be a bit superstitious and some of these rituals and beliefs can be hard to learn and remember. Also, the separation of clans and the stigmatism circling around associating with other clans can be a bit difficult to RP at times.

Notes on Role Playing this Race

Dwarves in Valindir are not axe-toting drunkards that can be depicted in other mythologies. We notice a tendency to stereotype them that way, and it has been difficult for some to break away from that. They are deeply religious people with their own way of life and thinking, and to play one as a dimwitted drunk would at least garner dirty looks from other Dwarves.

Posted July 5, 2011 by Evoru

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