Dwarves are a short, mercantile minded race that lives in the northern frontier of Aradoth. Long independant, self-reliance is a virtue of their race. Dwarves are typified as being polite, stern and completely unbending in their convictions.
Governed by an extensive system of laws and superstitions, Dwarves seem at first dour and xenophobic to outsiders. This attitude is a hallmark of their lamented recent history, in which they have suffered perhaps more harsly than any at the hands of the Withered Aegis. Though they fight for the Empire, they have not forgotten how they were abandoned in their hour of greatest need.
As their name implies Dwarves are a short people, topping at most 4 feet in height. Their small stature belies their capabilities however; their stocky build and thick skin make them difficult to harm, and their low centre of gravity makes then challenging opponents in a grapple.
Dwarves possess a nearly identical anatomy to humans once their smaller stature is accounted for. The most striking difference however is in their bones, which are comparatively thicker and denser. Whilst this makes them more difficult to break, the added mass impedes their athletic ability and makes swimming difficult at best.
Thanks to their mountainous homes, Dwarves are gifted with a large heart and lungs to help deal with the thinner atmosphere. Their subterranian nature has also resulted in the development of keen cave-senses, and an instinctive knowledge of navigation in lightless environments.
Dwarves are personified first and foremost by their Laws, to which they adhere without yield or compassion. Dwelling apart from the rest of the Living Races, they are a naturally closed-off and suspicious folk, rarely straying from their underground haunts. However, having been traditionally reliant on trade they place great value on hospitality and welcome outsiders into their outer halls freely. Such bastions are typically lavishly adorned and massive in scale; all the better to impress and impose.
Dwarves believe that only the lawful and richeous can enter Brobbert’s hall, so dedicate themselves to a rigerous code of honour and justice. Emotions come a distant second in all their dealings; whilst they are not a heartless people they can be dour, impassive and are utterly unmoved by pity or remorse. As such acts of charity are alien to them; Dwarves give nothing away for free.
Superstitions play a large part in their culture; this can make them quixotic to deal with and easily offended when a visitor unknowingly breaks one of their many and strange taboos. Dwarves do not engage in active worship of their patrons; they venerate with actions, not praise. Crafting and metalworking are regarded as cardinal occupations in their culture and draw them to an intimate connection with the elements. Many Dwarves also offer favour to elemental patrons as well as Brobbert. This propensity for metalworking means that it is often cheaper for a Dwarf to wear armour than to buy fabrics, and so Dwarves will be well accustomed to a variety of armour types from a very young age.
Dwarves are ruled over by a hereditary monarchy of Kings, each of who makes their throne in the vast halls beneath Aughundell. These kings govern with an iron fist, seeing that all adhere to their laws; they are traditionally aided by a council of advisors and nobles, but the strong-willed line typically pays little heed to such sycophants.
Since the Lament, the Dwarven King Dralnok left for an unknown destination, taking with him the relic Hammer of Kings. He and his bodyguard of 300 vanished without trace and the hammer along with them. Without the hammer, a successor could not be officially crowned. Since that time a council of Stewards has ruled in the King’s stead and are represented on the Imperial Council. Until such a time as the Hammer is retrieved and a successor found the line of kings is ended.
Dwarves are hailed as the foremost metalworkers in the Empire, having an innate ability to smelt and shape any type of metal. Over time these techniques have been perfected, allowing for the smelting of metals to a quality and purity unobtainable elsewhere. However, whilst they are master workers of metal and stone, Dwarves have remarkably little knowledge of mechanics. Primary exports include: Finished goods, arms, armour, cannons, metal ingots, jewlewry, machine components, worked and unworked metals.
The Dwarven people are reknowned for their stoic defence of their homeland during the Age of Lamentations, where though their city was completely overrun they held out for nigh a century against an Undead horde of millions. This determination continues to serve them well on the battlefield; Dwarves will never back down in the face of numbers and would sooner die than retreat. Their resiliance and resistance to being charged makes them nearly unmovable; once locked into a position an enemy is in for a long, hard and costly fight.
These tendencies however are not without their weaknesses; Dwarves are immobile, static fighters who fare very poorly against mobility based enemies. Success or failure is heavily dependant on the surrounding terrain, and their slow speed makes retreat in many cases a suicidal option. They also by and large lack offensive or utility magic; Dwarves displaying these traits are almost certainly Human trained.
Because the qualities of patience, dexterity, immovability and resolution are essentially bywords for the Dwarven people, the Imperial Army mainly employs them as garrisons for their fortresses and castles. Dwarves are turned to when the defence or capture of key position is called for; they are the Empire’s premier siege warfare specialists and one of the few producers of blackpowder weapons. Many Dwarves can also be found serving in the ranks of the Empire’s shieldwalls and pike hedges, where their unwillingness to retreat are valuable qualities.
Notes for Players
Dwarves have a strong dislike of short jokes. Make them at your peril.
Many Dwarves regard armour in the same way as other races regard clothing. They feel naked without it.
Contrary to popular belief, Dwarves are just as likely to use swords, spears and halberds as they are to use axes. Often in combination with a tower shield.
Distinguishing Dwarven genders is hard at first glance. Under all the hair and armour and gravelly voices it can be nearly impossible. For safety sake, refer to Dwarves as male until discovered otherwise (this is not offensive).
Dwarves have a special reverence for their beards. A Dwarf without a beard is one who has recently undergone some kind of upheaval or severe punishment.
Dwarven ale is not to be trifled with.