|Much of modern dwarven history (meaning after Year 0 in the Praxthian calendar) has much to do with the relations between Khabad-dun and the lands surrounding it, notably the Empire of Melcendia. For the purposes of the atlas section on dwarves, we will focus on dwarven history before the founding of Khabad-dun, when the dwarves of that Land lived in the Alliliel Mountains, in central Telluria. (This would be in the centuries leading up to the Devastation on the continent of Naranduil.)
The dwarves are a proud and ancient people. The average common dwarf can recite his or her family lineage back through half a dozen generations, highlighting notable events and family members with surprising detail. The noble dwarves can recite lineages back through two dozen generations, as if by rote. All dwarves were proud of their military heritage, and they could point to the Citadel Altspire as the only castle that had never fallen to enemies. Countless sieges -- originally dwarven warlords, later, orcs -- had been unable to bring the redoubtable citadel to its knees. No one had tried to storm the gates, for it was pure suicide to do so. Beyond the enormous portals that marked the main entrance to the mountain-fortress was a long tunnel that would become a killing field for any army foolish enough to rush forward. The citadel was the symbol of the enduring dwarven nation, then and now.
So widespread were the dwarves' reputation for military engineering and defenses that even the orc armies knew they could not assault the citadel. When the Claw Fang Tribe marched forth from the wilds of the Alliliel Mountains, they laid waste to every city, town, village, and outpost they encountered. They enslaved half of the population of Spire's Mouth, and they butchered the other half to use as provisions during their upcoming siege. The Claw Fang Tribe surrounded the entrances to Citadel Altspire, intending to make sure no one entered or left the mountain. It turned out that their intent originally was simply to deny anyone the opportunity to claim Caladbolg, the ancient Caledonian great sword that had been magickally held in the citadel's throne room for millennia. They never intended to occupy the Citadel for themselves.
In an odd coincidence, the same day that Kellts arrived to take Caladbolg, the orcs became emboldened and assaulted the impenetrable gates of the Citadel Altspire. By nightfall, the citadel had fallen. The vaunted dwarven defenses had failed, for they had trained so long as a passive defensive army that they had been unable to fight the onrushing enemy in close quarters when the time had come for it. Caladbolg was gone, and the citadel had fallen. It was an event that had been foretold centuries earlier, and it was repeated as a litany in dwarven celebrations: "The Citadel shall never fall as long as Caladbolg stands within the King's throne room."
Orcs butchered their way through the Lower Section of Altspire. The Upper Section, with its entrance to the above ground farms, remained unscathed for over a day. The numerous pulley-and-rope lifts that connected the two sections through vertical shafts had been sabotaged when the orcs had broken through the dwarven defenses at the main gates. The Upper Section was destroyed after another orc force assaulted the upper gates. No dwarf survived the two days of fighting that followed the breaching of the citadel's gates.
With the physical and spiritual capitol of their kingdom destroyed, and over two-thirds of the population destroyed or enslaved, the surviving dwarves hunkered down in their northernmost districts. The orcs had never shown an interest in crossing over the mountain passes northeast of the Spire Valley, neither before they assaulted Altspire nor after. The refugees who had survived the vicious invasion of Clemendeev holed up in the region around Fool's Mine. The conditions around Fool's Mine were poor to begin with. The land in the region was rocky, and the growing season was painfully short. Fishing was the only way the dwarves could bring enough food to the refugees, and there was a shortage of good boats and able-bodied dwarves (far too many had gone to Altspire to fight before the citadel fell). With too little land for both shelter and farming, and not enough food from the sea, it was a matter of time until the dwarves would suffer from starvation.
The dwarves dispatched ambassadors to the other Vasmar nations to seek help retaking their nation. The Javik were suffering from internal strife, and their king did not have a strong enough hold on his subordinates to organize anything. The Kelltic nations were unwilling to help, for they had their own problems with rampaging orcs. The Blue Temple was the only major organization to respond. (note from Stan: In central Telluria, a temple's affiliation with a deity is often known by the color of the temple -- in this case, blue being the color associated with Odion, the Aspect of Solnor concerning justice, self-sacrifice and vigilance)
The Temple sent a handful of priests to Fool's Mine, accompanied by several Azure Knights and a minor noble ambassador, in -91. When they arrived in the autumn of that year, they were appalled at the environment that they encountered. Fool's Mine was originally a fishing town of 10,000 near where a vein of Fool's Gold had been found. It had long been the northern extent of the dwarven kingdom, but had been little more than a subsistence town. Now there were close to 100,000 dwarves in the immediate region of the town, with countless thousands more farther up the valley. The food supplies the Temple's entourage brought were quickly distributed, and the priests and priestesses helped the dwarven priests in creating meals, but there was no way for them to keep up with the demand.
The Temple entourage was dispatched to Clemendeev to assess the conditions of the dwarven refugee camps, and, if the conditions were as poor as believed, to offer refuge in the Kelltic nations. While the kings were likely to balk at the offer, the Temple had enough land and enough power to make the evacuation a possibility.
The winter of -90 was difficult, for the scarce game in the northern regions of Clemendeev were hunted to extinction, and the hard freezes made it impossible for the fishing boats to sail full-time. (note: If you look on the map of Telluria, the region I am describing lies in the central portion of the continent, in between the north-central inland sea and the mountainous region to the south. Clemendeev is the land immediately south of the Forest of Tearwold, bounded on the west by the Sea of Storms. Citadel Altspire lies at the foot of the mountains to the south.) Thousands of dwarves starved over the course of that winter, depleting an already small population.
The dwarven leadership, little more than a few middle-level military commanders, had been violently opposed to abandoning their homelands. After seeing the misery of their charges over the winter, they acquiesced in the spring of -90. Those dwarves who could not fight in a guerilla war against the orcs would evacuate by sea aboard Temple ships for Londoun. Those dwarves who had been expatriates before would return to the human cities in which they had lived, while the new emigrants would settle where there was room in the various Dwarven Quarters of the Kelltic cities. The rest of the thousands of refugees would build new towns in the Kingdom of the Five Crowns and Eiresud, where the Temple had huge tracts of land in prime farming regions.
The Temple marshaled every ship they had in the Vasmar, and hired additional ships to help with the largest exodus in Anduri history at that time. Even the initial orc invasion that marked the end of the Golden Era of the Five Crowns Alliance involved fewer people being moved overseas. In Londoun, the Blue Temple transformed the large square in front of Cathedral Treasa into a temporary refugee camp. As shiploads of dwarves arrived in the city, they were ushered into the camp until they could be directed to their new homes. Tensions rose as more and more ships arrived with dwarven refugees. Londounites viewed these destitute arrivals as little more than refuse, and several times Azure Knights had to fend off hostile mobs.
The evacuation took eight years, with ships full of food and other supplies arriving at Fool's Mine, then leaving full of dwarves. Thousands of dwarves stayed in Londoun, despite the open bias against them, because they had once lived in that city. Others traveled far south, moving into the empty Dwarven Quarter of Brallian. A new town outside of Kells sprung up as dwarves settled on Temple lands. Another, larger city grew on the Brythomar coast nearly a hundred miles east of Brallian, again on Temple lands. The dwarves thrived in their new lands. Many of them took their natural talents as miners and metalworkers and put them to use in their adopted nations. Dwarven stonesmiths repaired and improved roadways throughout the lands, and dwarven metalsmiths proved their worth with unsurpassed workmanship. The smiths even adapted human senses of aesthetics, creating works that were not typically spartan dwarven products.
The popularity and quality of dwarven goods ensured that they commanded high prices, and many people were willing to pay the premium that was associated with dwarven goods. This popularity had a downside, naturally. Human smiths who had been displaced harbored deep prejudices against the dwarves, and the dwarves earned a reputation as money hoarders. Some minor nobles began to exclude dwarves from official functions, while others passed laws requiring dwarves to stay within designated regions of the city. Dwarves were not permitted out of "their" part of the city without papers authorizing them to leave. With such bias, it is no wonder that many dwarves chose to leave their newly adopted cities, traveling west to New Clemendeev, the city they had founded on the eastern flank of the Galandarel Mountains. By the time the last of the dwarven refugees had left their homelands, the only substantial populations of dwarves were in a handful of locations: in Londoun, which historically had integrated with dwarves; in Armagh, where a few families had settled; in Arabel Cinlu; in New Hinterton, outside Kells; in Brallian, which had large populations of several non-human races anyway; and in New Clemendeev, which boasted a population of over 100,000 by -75.
The dwarven city of New Clemendeev was the center of dwarven expatriate society. When a local noble granted the dwarves a large island offshore from the city, the dwarves quickly built a town out there as well, giving them territory where they could live without unwanted human interference.
Those years were a time of radical change in society. The first of the wondrous mechanical devices from Kligzeetun had a great impact on the Kelltic people. These machines that could do things by boiling water were highly prized. Ships that could cross the ocean quickly, no matter what winds were like, soon carried goods and people across the Brythomar. The dwarves were particularly interested in another of the Kligzeetunese machines, the steam-powered wagons that rode upon iron rail roads. By -60, the dwarves had completed one of these rail roads to connect New Clemendeev with Brallian. By the end of the following year, the road also reached Kells. Passengers and goods could be carried from Kells to Brallian in a matter of hours, instead of about three days, as overland merchants required.
While river traffic was able to compete with goods heading south, nothing was as fast as the rail road at carrying goods upstream to Kells. The dwarves were able to carry an entire merchant caravan, with oxen and horses, practically overnight.
As the dwarves' natural talents meshed with these machines, improvements began to appear. The dwarves found ways to make the steam powered machines to work more efficiently, and they soon announced plans to build an improved rail road that could complete the Brallian-Kells route in less than three hours. The dwarves were going to extend the road through Tagellin to Arabel Cinlu, then along the River Llwelyn to Londoun, connecting the two great Kelltic port cities with a trip that would take only a day.
Other machines were used to improve manufacturing capabilities. These machines could perform tasks tirelessly. The earliest use of this aspect of the machines was used in manufacturing the rails used on the rail roads. Large buildings in New Clemendeev used machines to shape hot metal into the rail shapes in a fraction of the time an army of smiths would need. Other machines were used to automate textile work, and grain processing, so the dwarves were able to produce more goods, at lower prices, than the humans.
Humans were not oblivious to the advantages of the machines. Although they were slower to adopt them, and did not improve upon them as did the dwarves, men did build powered manufacturing sites. The natural advantage of the dwarves remained, but it did not grow too much despite the improved machines. While many humans still viewed the dwarves distrustfully, they wholeheartedly embraced the advantages dwarven machines provided. By this time, the dwarves had completed their great rail road between Brallian, Arabel Cinlu, and Londoun. Merchants and travelers could board one of these rail trains in Brallian, then set foot in Arabel Cinlu in less than ten hours. From Arabel Cinlu to Londoun took another sixteen hours. While expensive, the speed was unparalleled by even the fastest of the steam-propelled flying ships.
The dwarves sent frequent rail trains of cargo north. Soon enough, men learned the reason. The dwarves had built the rail road to allow them to support industry on the Vasmar coast, which had seen little of the wonders of steam machines. And the reason the dwarves wanted to build up the industry in the north was eminently clear: the dwarves planned on retaking their homelands from the orc civilization that had settled their after the Fall of Citadel Altspire. Such a battle would be difficult for two reasons. First, and most obvious, was that Clemendeev was far from the industry, and supporting a massive invasion over such distances would be difficult, at best. Second, the Claw Fang Tribe had quickly established diplomatic contacts with the nations of the Vasmar after the dwarves had chosen to flee from Fool's Mine.
The orcs had surprised the humans by showing a great deal of civility. The orcs dispatched ambassadors to all the courts of the region, and they had invited the humans to do likewise to their own court. They had rebuilt and repaired the interior of Citadel Altspire. Thanks to the dwarves' grandiose style of architecture, there was no need to make drastic alterations to the interior of the citadel.
The human diplomats who visited the Claw Fang's newly-claimed lands found an established, settled civilization populated exclusively by orcs. The orcs explained that the dwarves who had remained behind in the occupied lands had been permitted to leave, and most did.
After fifteen years of normal relations with the orcs, the human nations had chosen to accept the orcs' claims to the Heaven's Comb Mountains. Dwarven protests to the contrary were dismissed, since the dwarves had willingly left their historical lands behind.
It was in this context that the dwarves started hiring mercenaries to fill out their armies, and they moved tons of war materiel to the Vasmar coast as they built a fleet of steam-powered transports to move their armies across the sea to their former lands.
The dwarves had lost their historical homelands to the intruding orcs, and those orcs had managed to convince the human nations that they had a right to inhabit the Heavens' Comb Mountains, but the dwarves were determined to take back Citadel Altspire no matter the cost.
When the Devastation of Naranduil occurred some fifty years later, the chaos waves that rippled over Telluria caused a great deal of upheaval in the Kelltic Empire, changing the nature of reality to a large extent, and reversed the advanced technological civilization developed by the dwarves and humans to its current state. The magical upheaval caused by the chaos waves caused the bulk of the dwarves to depart their homes in search of a land where they could be left to fend for themselves, in relative safety (and seclusion) without having to worry too much about the intrusion of others. Thus, the second migration to the caverns and valleys in what would become the Kingdom of Khabad-dun, founded in the Year 150.
Types of Dwarves
Two sub-races of dwarves make up the majority of the dwarven population of Andurin. These are ur-Teadghe [stone dwarves (hill dwarves)] and ur-Khazdghe [crystal dwarves (mountain dwarves)]. They are often called red or black dwarves respectively by humans. This is due to the fact that most stone dwarves have red (or brown) hair and beards and most deep dwarves have black (or dark brown) hair and beards. Of course this is not always the case as these races outside of their traditional dwarven strongholds mix freely.
The other two races of dwarves found in Andurin (which are not available as PCs) will only be mentioned in brief. ur-Mordghe [gloom dwarves (gray dwarves)] are the denizens of the Sunless Lands and are almost completely wiped out. They verge on extinction because of the various bloody wars of those subterranean realms and have suffered greatly at the hands of evil races, like the other dwarven sub-race, ur-Dverghe [dvergr (duergar)]. Dvergr are the third largest population of dwarves, but are rarely, if ever, seen. They prefer the dark depths of the Sunless Lands and their shady dealings with the other races there. Dwarves of the surface and near-surface fear them greatly for in the past great wars have been fought between this and the other races of dwarves.
ur-Teadghe and ur-Khazdghe can be found from the northernmost parts of the Telluria to as far south as the Council of Alalminor. It is even rumored that there are isolated dwarven strongholds in the mountains of the Sultanate of Zayal who avoid all contact with other races, but by far the greatest number of dwarven communities can be found in Khabad-dun and in Derome-denen (located near the base of the Galandarel Mountains, within a quarter circuit's travel of the White Tower).
Derome-denen means "island (or mountain) at the center of the kingdom" in dwarven. It is home to many races, but is mostly known as "the Isle of Dwarves." The dwarven strongholds of Derome-denen vary in their attitudes and ways of life. Some are completely isolationist and self-sufficient (mostly crystal dwarf strongholds), others are open to all who have something to trade or offer, there is a confederation of dwarven merchants from various strongholds called the Nauglimir Dwarven Merchant Consortium, which is known throughout Andurin for bringing goods to and from dwarven communities. Often, they bring dwarven goods in large well-protected caravans out of the deep mountains to trade towns where they can be shipped to points south. The Nauglimir Merchant Consortium has the most influence in Derome-Delem and areas like the Council of Alalminor, Wylund and the Empire of Melcendia, but in recent years has had extensive relations with the Kingdom of Khabad-dun and the Seven Dwarven Citadels of the Desertmouth Mountains.
<span class="cattitle>Government Structure
Different dwarven communities and strongholds have different views of their leaders. In Derome-denen and in Khabad-dun very few strongholds call their leader "king." Instead they use the term Thegn (or Thain). This is because of a dwarven legend that says that one day there will be a real king that will unite all the (good) dwarves of Andurin into one kingdom. In the Second Age, dwarven kingdoms that fit this ideal existed, but fell for various reasons (see Dwarven History below). The dwarves of the Desertmouth Mountains have abandoned this legend (for the most part) and have a confederation of Seven Dwarf Citadels. Each has its own kings and law, but all support each other and have a strong connection in treaty and trade with the humans of Zayal, Melcendia to the far west, and the Thendrian League to the east. Many dwarves there have taken to worshiping the human god, Thor (Thendri Aspect of Solnor), who is considered a patron of dwarves. The majority, however, still worship the dwarven gods.
Of these seven kingdoms, three are stone dwarf communities and four are crystal dwarf communities. Their names are Kartas, Khantlar, Mlurn, Nevodar, Dleg-ston, Dwal-fingor and Korin. Nevodar, Korin and Mlurn are stone dwarf kingdoms. The rest are crystal dwarf. These kingdoms are all named for their central stronghold, but all have more than one stronghold under its authority.
Each clan of Khabad-dun has a single thain who may be of either gender but must be past his or her Age of Choosing, usually around 90 winters -- this position is known as "Huregozar" (Huregozar) for females or "Baregozar" (Baregozar) for males. The leader is elected by common consensus, although he or she is often from a popular family within the clan.
The thain then makes decisions aided by his/her council members and if the council sees fit to bring any particular decision before the clan, it must then be supported by consensus voting of all adult dwarves. Leaders also have a sub-leader, or “travel-chief”, as it can be literally translated; this dwarf (male or female) will often be responsible to travel to annual clan meetings and stand for the leader in the Great Council of Khabad-dun. The Denirimerons also travel outside the clan and meet, but their religious gatherings are shrouded in mystery and fanatic secrecy. Generally if clans meet with humans for any ritual or barter purpose, a sub-leader (for reasons of security) and a Denirim must be present, along with the most skilled workmen of whichever trades are represented in the barter. Thus whichever dwarf of a clan knows the most about leatherworking will be present at a hide swap, while the head smith will be asked to come if ore is under discussion. Such meetings almost always take place at neutral locations, neither in the human city nor in the dwarven cavern.
Dwarves tend to be dour and taciturn. They are serious about their lives and about life in general. They value things that are steady and long-lasting. It is for that reason that they favor mountains, gems, stone and metal-goods to wood and delicate art objects. Dwarves love their beards. A beard on a male or female dwarf is a source of great pride. The longer and fuller it is the better. To call a dwarf a "longbeard" is to compliment him highly. It is the equivalent of being called a wise elder or seasoned warrior. However, dwarves detest flattery for its own sake and look down on those that throw compliments like that around. Female dwarves often decorate their beards with ribbons and braids. Male dwarves can have their beards "decorated" with strands of gold or silver or with braids that hold gems to honor their bravery and skill. Only a dwarf in dishonor shaves his beard and he would be shunned by other dwarves. All the bzontra dwarves of Derome-denen shave their beards until such time that they wrest their territory (verdaise) back from the dread undead lords of Nord'athaq that stole it from them. Only priests are allowed to wear the legendary triple-braided beard of wisdom.
Dwarves love stories. Story-telling is another way in which they pass on their history, tradition and culture. Dwarven stories (like elven ones) tend to be long and involved, but unlike elven stories which go off on extreme tangents, dwarf stories often involve detailed genealogies (like those of halflings).
The average life of a typical dwarf is 0-30 childhood, 31-80 apprenticeship, 80 adulthood. Most dwarves live to be 200 before dying of old age. The youngest age considered acceptable for a master craftsman would be 100 years of age but 115 is more the norm. Child bearing age is from around 50 till about 140 years of age. Gestation time is one year. A dwarven child is weaned at the age of 4 years at which time it is possible for a dwarven female to conceive again. Twins and other multiple births are very uncommon, but not unknown.
Beards begin growing about the age of 7 or 8 on both sexes.
Between the ages of 31-80 is the time of apprenticeship when a young dwarf learns his or her trade and basic skills. The most common trades are metalwork with specialties of weapons or household goods, weaving fungus fibers for cloth, architecture of the caverns with specialties of traps or living spaces, gem working and mining. Youths are sent to another part of the hold for apprenticeship because it is believed that parents would not provide the proper discipline. The first ten years of an apprenticeship the young dwarf is treated virtually as a slave. He or she is told when to sleep, when to wake, what to eat, and how to work. There is very little time for social activities during this time except during the end of the year holiday. This is to teach the young dwarf discipline and the value of freedom. How can you truly value freedom if you have never known the lack?
The percentage of female births for dwarves can vary from 1 in 3 to 1 in 5 but there are always fewer females than males. This shortage of females makes them very valuable in dwarven society because each dwarven female on average must have 4 children live to adulthood to maintain present population. As might be thought, the more lopsided the ratio, the fiercer the protection and the greater the value placed on the females. Especially where the ratio is very lopsided, a daughter will be very protected by her parents and usually spoiled rotten. It a dwarven female has more that one daughter to replace her she is considered very blessed by the Makers.
Dwarves do not marry for life but for the length of a contract. Therefore a dwarven female can have a number of husbands over the course of a lifetime. She can only have one husband at a time, though. A contract can be based on the number of children or a certain length of time. Contracts are negotiated by the parents as an arranged marriage for the children. Contracts usually include a bride price such as cavern farming rights or a specific amount of ore for metal working. Inheritance of household goods, farming caverns, and hearth space, which can be considerable wealth in itself, occurs through the female line. Accumulated wealth of precious metal, craft tools, and weapons, aside from personal items, are inherited through the male line. In most clans, females have no power in the areas of men's crafts -war and external matters between the clan and other clans and the Upside world. Even in these clans this does not mean that dwarven females have no power. Quite the opposite; they practically run the show on internal matters such as who can marry, how and to whom food is distributed, and who will be accepted into a household to apprentice to a male. In other clans, especially those where the birth ratio is closer to even, power and roles are shared more evenly between the sexes.
The only difference between humans and orcs to dwarves is that you can trust a human sometimes (actually some dwarves insist that the only difference is that humans don't smell quite as bad). Dwarves see both races are something akin to rabbits. They just keep on reproducing and seem to give no care as to who or what they reproduce with. Humans do not keep what passes for their tradition very strongly and seem to change their minds almost as much as elves.
There is a long history of animosity between elves and dwarves. Despite their long-lives, elves do not seem to learn the value of hard work and solid things. The elven fascination with the ocean and trees and the sky baffles dwarves. They are too flighty, fight among themselves and rely too much on magic, everything that is to be despised in a race. In addition, there is the historical debate about which race came first, dwarves or elves. Despite this there have been cases of great friendships between individual elves and dwarves, but these are rare.
Halflings are viewed as child-like by dwarves. They seem to understand the value of home, family and tradition, but seem too lazy and too concerned with creature comforts for dwarven tastes. However, when a halfling community is situated near to a dwarven one and the rate of reproduction is low there have been reported cases where dwarves and halflings marry and have children. In that case the offspring is unmistakable for a dwarf (except perhaps tending to be shorter and a thinner beard). Such an offspring that mates with halflings will produce halflings of the stout variety. Those that mate with dwarves will have (for all intents and purposes) full dwarves.
Gnomes are dwarves closest relatives and most likely mated with in time of need. Gnomes and dwarves can relate in their general love of the earth and gems, however, the gnomish propensity for exaggeration and drink can be annoying to dwarves. While both races excel at the design and construction of machines, dwarves feel gnomes rely on technology too much and tend to build extravagant machines with little practical use. In addition, the use of illusionist magic by some gnomes makes dwarves nervous. In terms of other races, dwarves hate the orc and goblin races (goblins, hobgoblins, bugbears) and have a reasonable hatred of giants and other evil humanoids. They tend to have little connection with races such as Arjunion (lizardfolk), but tend to distrust first and ask questions later.
Dwarves have a very elaborate culture and, generally, a great respect for law and order. As a result, a significant number of dwarves become healers and very few become necromancers. The liking and respect for law also is reflected in their dealings with other Dwarves and other races. Individuals that are trustworthy and honest will generally be greatly respected by dwarves while individuals and races that are dishonest and untrustworthy will earn their enmity. In other words, breaking an agreement with a dwarf may lead him, or her, to consider you the equivalent of a goblin.
The way most dwarves look at surface dwelling dwarves is similar to the way 17th and 18th century mariners were viewed in our world. They are invited to all the parties because they tell wonderful stories, which of course have to be taken with a grain of granite. They are heroes and adventurers but you wouldn't daughter to marry one. They have been known to amass great wealth but this is rare. More likely they will eventually fail to return from the Upworld, dead in some mysterious way. The family will never know exactly how they died, that is why you steer your children away from their influences. Sons because you don't want to lose them to the Upworld and daughters because they can become widows without proper proof which would allow them to enter into a new marriage.
Generally half-dwarves are not thought of as real dwarves, although they may be OK people. This is because lineage is everything and the human side tends to have short records, only a couple of generations. Also there are so few female dwarves that they should stay within the race to breed more dwarves. A male dwarf would be unlikely to take a female human to wife, because it would shorten their status in the world (no pun intended). Usually, a dwarf will not go out of his way to be nasty to a half-dwarf unless he had something against the particular half-dwarf or something specific in his history such as his great-grandmother on his mother's side was killed by a human (dwarves have very good historical records and value them highly.)
The number of dwarven adventurers has increased in recent years. Many dwarves are seeking to make a name for themselves and build a fortune to return to their clan a hero. They also seek to make connections with other dwarven communities to build a stronger dwarven base in the world and work towards the goal of a united dwarven empire. Other dwarves grow tired of the dwarven way of life and seek their fortune among humans and other races. The opportunities and variety available in human society tempt them and they leave. These dwarves are often called "zander" in the dwarvish tongue, which means "foolish" or "reckless youth".
Dwarven History is long and complex, too much to give an accurate account of it here. Instead this is only a very broad overview of what most dwarves consider important in their history.
In the "Dwon" or “The Time Before" which is the name the dwarves have for the time before the beginning of the First Age, dwarven legend has it that there was but one immense landmass in Andurin. The dwarves thrived in one united kingdom called (appropriately enough) "The First Dwarven Kingdom." When dwarves speak of it now they take a tone of intense reverence for that time. The legend continues that a group of dwarves angered Natan-Ahb and Krauchaar by becoming too covetous of power and riches and not appreciating the beauty of what they made, but rather only the power it could get them and how much they could hoard. These dwarves came into conflict with the other dwarves and soon dwarves began to spill the blood of their kin. Angered, Natan-Ahb smote the one landmass with his mighty hammer breaking it into the many smaller landmasses found today. The greedy dwarves went deep into the network of caves and tunnels that still connected the various bits of land and disappeared for a time, becoming the feared dvergr.
The smiting of the Land is considered year 0 of the First Age. It was not until 9800 years later after several millennia of wandering and wars among each other and the other races and monsters, that the Second Dwarven Kingdom was founded. Its center was where Derome-denen is now, but it spread using the ancient tunnels of the Sunless Lands and the Undersea north to the Reaches and far east and west. It was over 5000 years and many kings later, in the Second Age, that the Second Dwarven Kingdom fell. There are many reasons behind this fall. It is known that the connection between the central kingdom and the out-lying strongholds weakened and that dwarves again began to fight among themselves. A king died with no heir and the gods were silent. Many dwarven lords declared themselves king and the kingdom fractured. What made this situation worse was that around this time the surface elves defeated the ilythiiri for the second time and forced them back into the Sunless Lands. The ilythiiri then set their sights on dwarven strongholds and without unity many fell to the dark menace.
Eventually the dwarves forced the ilythiiri and other creatures deep into the Sunless Lands and in the 3850th year of the Second Age, only 400 years after the falling of the Second Kingdom, the Third Dwarven Kingdom was founded by Dwitak Chem. He is known as the Last Dwarven King to many. It was 900 years later that the dvergr returned. They tempted many good dwarves with promises of treasure and power and founded the Great Empire of Wechlor. Many of the outer dwarven strongholds joined the powerful empire and never in dwarven history have so many dwarves killed their own kind. The dwarven population was at it height at this time and would never reach even near that level again. The Second Age ended with the collapse of both the Third Dwarven Kingdom and the Great Empire of Wechlor. There has never been a united Dwarven Kingdom since then.
In the Third Age many of the small communities and strongholds existing today were founded and wars in the Sunless Lands led to problems with great numbers of creatures trying to flee the warring dvergr, ilythiiri and illithids. The gloom dwarves were almost completely wiped out in this time and those dwarves that had contact with the Sunless Lands fled to the surface bringing them into conflict with humans who had begun to spread everywhere and with elves in Quenaris and Synnoria who did not care to have dwarves in their lands. This led to direct war between dwarves and elves. Unfortunately for the dwarves, they did not have the resources the elves had at that time and were defeated. There are still two dwarven communities in Quenaris, but their activities are monitored by treaties with the elves. Elsewhere, the close of the Third Age saw the Invoked Devastation of Naranduil and its attendant consequences. A direct consequence of this Event saw the founding of Khabad-dun (see the story of the fall of Citadel Altspire above). Although the dwarves of Khabad-dun have become entrenched in their new home over the intervening centuries, never have they abandoned their cherished dream to retake their ancestral home from the hands of the orcs (or whatever might be living there now).
In recent times, the dwarves of Derome-denen had to unite against an invading force from the newly rejuvenated city-state of Nord'athaq, but were helped by the White Tower, along with halflings and gnomes.
The modern dwarven spoken language derives from an ancient dwarven language spoken in antiquity. The old language is called "xoth" and has also come to mean ancient dwarf-lore and secrets. This language is only known by priests of the dwarven gods and only spoken in secret sacred rituals.
The modern human common alphabet was derived from the dwarven alphabet sometime in the Third Age. Thus, it is possible to make a direct correlation between dwarven runes and common letters. There are no capital letters in the dwarven alphabet.
Dwarven communities of any type are usually divided in familial clans that specialize in one trade. This trade is their pride and they take it very seriously. Thus you may have a dwarven clan that expends all its energy on brewing or baking or stonemasonry or some other craft. Clans will take in members of other clans that show aptitude for their trade, but they will never be given the same privileges as a full-clan member unless they join through marriage. Most often when a female is married she is considered to have joined the clan of her husband. Each clan is also expected to raise a child for the priesthood every generation or so. Marriage and reproduction is very important to dwarves. They have a low birthrate and few dwarves have any siblings, let alone more than one. It is typically considered a dwarf's duty to marry and reproduce.
Worship and religious traditions are very important to the dwarves of Andurin. It is an essential tool for the passing of the dwarven culture through the generations. The dwarven priesthood is not typically divided into priests of specific gods. Instead, the priests call on the pantheon as a whole for their spells and power. However, some dwarven priests favor one god over another and take a patron which gives them certain duties, powers and restrictions. Yet, even these priests respect the hierarchy of the dwarven pantheon, Natan-Ahb being at the top of it. Traditional dwarves (and most dwarven priests) look down on dwarven priests and worshippers of non-dwarven gods, except in the Desertmouth Mountains where worship of Thor has become acceptable. Priests of the dwarven gods use rune-stones as the divine focus for their spells and can also "throw the stones" to divine the future. Rune-stones are sacred items to dwarves and the written (carved) word is respected in dwarven religion as something with great power. It is because of this that priests of the dwarven pantheon are often called "Rune-Throwers." Typically female dwarves do not become priests.
Unlike other pantheons and other races, the dwarven people worship their gods as a group, revering each in the proper place as led by Natan-ahb. The unity and loyalty of this group of dwarven gods is so that dwarven priests are dedicated to all of the gods of the pantheon, only occasionally taking a specific patron, but even then being expected to serve any and all of the dwarven gods at all time.
The dwarven gods are looked upon as the progenitors and protectors of the dwarven race. They serve as a model by which dwarves are expected to live their lives, and also are considered the source of dwarven law and custom. The dwarven gods (Natan-ahb in particular) are considered to sit in judgment of the dwarven people; to temper them to make them worthy of the their place as the chosen people of Andurin (as dwarves do so believe). In fact, the lack of a unified dwarven kingdom and the dwindling number of dwarves have led many dwarves to believe that the favor of their gods has been lost and must be re-earned.
The dwarven pantheon (like dwarven society) is very obviously patriarchal, with Natan-ahb leading the gods, and there being only one female dwarven god. The organization of the pantheon according to dwarven belief is the foundation for the basic framework of dwarven society, with one leader and the rest of the gods taking up roles to serve and aid him for the benefit of all.
Natan-ahb (Symbol: Hammer & Anvil) (crystal dwarven Aspect of Solnor)
Natan-ahb is depicted as muscular dwarf, with a beard that flows in color from black to red to grey and many colors in-between, like a molten and slow-motion fire. Most often he is described working at his forge creating weapons and items of great quality, that all dwarven craftsmen aspire to. Natan-ahb a fair, but harsh judge, who loves the dwarven people he created with a father’s stern love. It is said he judges dwarves on their actions. “It is not enough to have a good heart,” is a common saying among dwarven priests referring to how Natan-ahb would have dwarves be. Natan-ahb is the king of all the other dwarven gods, and first among the pantheon.
Hodenar (Symbol: Silver Drum) (stone dwarven Aspect of Llyndeiras)
Hodenar is the dwarven merchant god, and of all the dwarven gods he teaches the most open philosophy, representing the need not only for trading with other dwarven communities, but with other races as well. Hodenar is depicted as a well-groomed dwarf in brown and yellow leathers, wearing a great deal of elegant jewelry. Hodenar is revered, but the extreme dedication to his philosophy is scorned in most dwarven strongholds. He is sometimes considered the god of dwarves who wander or who have lost their way (without having become evil). Hodenar is also a musician, and is patron of dwarves who play instruments.
Krauchaar (Symbol: Golden Trumpet) (stone dwarven Aspect of Martreus)
Krauchaar is called the Father of Battle, who represents the warcraft of the dwarven people. It is said Krauchaar believes that making war is just as worthy and profitable an art as craftsmanship, for without war one could not defend the way of life others would want to destroy. Krauchaar is depicted as muscular dwarf dressed in chainmail of pure silver, with a silver beard in one thin braid, and wielding a battle axe and a war hammer, which seem to sing when swung around. Krauchaar is also god of song and epic poetry. In tales, Krauchaar is described with qualities that are almost undwarf-like, such as being impatient, quick to anger and unpredictable. However, he is still considered an ethical god, who does not lower himself to trickery to overcome opponents, and who understands the need for good strategy and planning in war to emerge victorious.
Lehrathonar (Symbol: Gem in a Mountain) (crystal dwarven Aspect of Tammara)
Known as the Keeper of the Secrets Under the Mountain, Lehrathonar is depicted a grey-bearded dwarf in wearing shades of grey, who never speaks. His eyes are described as shining like a silver fire. It is said that it was Lehrathonar that revealed the secrets of mining and stonework to the dwarves, and that it is he who lays the veins of precious metals and pockets of precious gems to be found. It is also he who punishes when such gifts are exploited. In some dwarven traditions (usually mountain dwarf) Lehrathonar is older than Natan-ahb, but still shows deference to him. Lehrathonar is particularly revered in dwarven communities close to or in the Sunless Lands.
Rivkanal (Symbol: Two silver rings) (crystal dwarven Aspect of Tevesh)
Rivkanal is depicted as a powerful dwarven female with her beard in four braids ending in green gemstones. She is often described as using a shield and mace. Rivkanal is Natan-ahb’s wife, and is the goddess of protection, motherhood and mercy. She is the balancing counterpart of her stern husband, espousing understanding, love, and generosity over duty, honor and law. She is also goddess of marriage. Rivkanal while revered in all dwarven communities to some extent, is rarely considered a major god in the patriarchal dwarven world. However, in dwarven strongholds that are in constant threat or at war, Rivkanal also represents female warriors, and their fierce determination to defend and protect those which they love.
Spironka (Symbol: A disfigured arm) (derro Aspect of Gorgauth)
Spironka is the god of the derro, the foul twisted race of dwarves that long ago gave up their true dwarfness to learn how to use arcane magic. This little known god (except to derro of course) is depicted a tall skinny pasty dwarf, with the blank bug-eyes of a derro, bushy black hair, no beard, and a twisted and useless right arm and club-foot. He is patron of those who seek power at any cost.
Wechlor (Symbol: Fist Full of Gold Coins Covered in Blood) (deep dwarven Aspect of Llyndeiras)
First among the evil dwarven gods, Wechlor is banished from the pantheon. It is said that he turned against Natan-ahb when Lehrathonar was appointed Keeper of the Secret Under the Mountain. Wechlor is the patron of the dvergr and evil dwarves, representing endless greed and exploitation of the fruits of the earth. He is deceitful and wicked, and encourages that in all dwarves. Despite his banishment, it is whispered that some of the dwarven gods still speak with him as he has fought on the side of the dwarven gods in epic battles of the past. Rune-throwers do not revere Wechlor or any evil gods. He has his own secret priesthood. Wechlor is depicted as a fat sallow-skinned dwarf with a fraying beard and bulging eyes. He wears leathers and furs.
Holidays, Festivals and Observances
There are many festivals and observances that mark the annual rituals of dwarven life, but one of the most important is the following:
Denimett Avifer ("Holy Writing Time")
Denimett Avifer is practiced individually among the dwarves. Generally a dwarf chooses to undertake the scribing of the dwarven holy book, the Trumesdrummerons (Trumesdrummerons, Rock Tales, as it can be loosely translated) as a way to gain merit with Natan-ahb, or to refresh himself spiritually, and the timing of this is between him and his Denirim (dwarven priest).
A dwarf who wishes to ascend to adulthood will also petition his or her Denirim for this right. The petitioner is then excused from all community duties to spend a week in seclusion writing out the complete text of the Trumesdrummerons, rune for rune. The Denirim checks the copy against his original, and a single mistake will mean the offending copy is burnt. The petitioning dwarf must then wait a year before applying again, and part of that intervening time must be spent in study with the Denirim and private meditation. The Thrumgolz say sternly that no dwarf can take on adult responsibilities if he cannot even be trusted to copy a rune correctly! Fortunately, the holy book is terse and straightforward, and many dwarves have much of it by heart.
Game Information -- as before, all of the following information are rules for use with my campaign, and replace their equivalents in the PH.
There are two sub-races of dwarves available as PCs in Andurin. These are stone dwarves (hill dwarves) and crystal dwarves (mountain dwarves). Stone dwarves are by far the more common and have a greater population. They are much more likely to be encountered as adventurers. Crystal dwarves are much more reclusive and tend to remain within their own strongholds and cultures. Stone dwarves and crystal dwarves are often referred to as Red Dwarves and Black Dwarves, respectively, by humans. Both male and female dwarves of both sub-races have beards (though male beards tend to be longer and fuller). They are generally a subterranean people, who appreciate stonecraft and precious gems, and value good hard work and loyalty over all things. See above for more information on dwarves, their lifestyle and outlook. Both types of dwarves share the same racial traits.
Dwarven Racial Traits:
• +2 Constitution score, -2 to Charisma. Dwarves are stout and tough, but tend to be gruff and reserved.
• Dwarves are considered medium-sized despite their height (see below), because of their broad frames.
• Dwarven base speed is 20 feet (4 boxes).
• Darkvision: Dwarves may see in total darkness up to a range of 60 feet. Darkvision is black and white only.
• Stone-cunning: Dwarves gain a +2 racial bonus to all checks involving stonework - such as detecting sliding walls, stonework traps, new construction, unsafe stone surfaces and the like. A dwarf that passes within 10 feet of a stone surface is allowed a check to determine this. Dwarves may also intuit their depth underground (treat as Intuit Direction Skill) with no ranks).
• Dwarves gain a +2 racial bonus to saves against poison.
• Dwarves gain a +2 racial bonus to saves against spells and spell-like effects.
• Dwarves gain a +1 racial bonus to attack rolls against orcs and goblinoids (including bugbears, goblins and hobgoblins).
• Dwarves gain a +4 dodge bonus to the armor class when fighting giants. This bonus any time that the dwarf character would normally lose his dexterity bonus or be considered flat-footed.
• Dwarves gain a +2 racial bonus to appraise checks to items of stone, metal or precious gems.
• Dwarves gain a +2 racial bonus to Craft checks that are related to stone or metal work.
• Dwarves automatically begin with two free ranks in the spoken dwarven language and one rank in the common tongue.
• Dwarves are non-magical in nature and may not ever cast arcane spells. Dwarven bard PCs receive divine spells in lieu of arcane spells. Dwarven bard PCs must follow a dwarven deity and may choose to learn spells as if he or she were a priest of that deity.
• Favored Class: Fighter or Priest. A multi-classed dwarf man not count any fighter or priest levels when determining whether he suffers an XP penalty (determining this upon character creation).
• Allowed Classes: Barbarian, Bard, Fighter, Monk, Paladin, Priest, Psionicist, and Rogue.
• Starting Age: 40 +5d4 year
• Height: 3’ 9” + 2d6 inches (average 4’ 4”)
• Weight: 130 lbs. + what was rolled on the 2d6 for height multiplied by 2d6 (average 179 lbs.).