A Shadow over Akeroth
Dwarves are one of the many sentient Races that occupy Akeroth; Dwarves have existed on Akeroth since the Mythic Era. Dwarves are known for their skill in warfare, their ability to withstand physical and magical punishment, their knowledge of the earth’s secrets, their hard work, and their capacity for drinking ale. Their mysterious kingdoms, carved out from the inside of mountains, are renowned for the marvelous treasures that they produce as gifts or for trade.
Personality: Dwarves are slow to laugh or jest and suspicious of strangers, but they are generous to those who earn their trust. Dwarves value gold, gems, jewelry, and art objects made of these precious materials; they have been known to succumb to greed. They fight neither recklessly nor timidly, but with careful courage and tenacity. Their sense of justice is strong, but at its worst it can turn into a thirst for vengeance. Among Gnomes, who get along famously with Dwarves, a mild oath is “If I’m lying, may I cross a Dwarf”.
Physical Description: Dwarves stand only 4 to 4 1/2 feet tall, but they are so broad and compact that they are, on average, almost as heavy as humans. Dwarf men are slightly taller, and noticeably heavier than Dwarf women. Dwarven skin color ranges from pale, to tan, and even black. Their eyes are usually black, and their hair ranges from black, to red, to brown, and is typically worn long. Dwarf men value their beards highly, and groom them regularly with great care and precision. Dwarves favor simple styles for their hair, beards, and clothes. Dwarves are considered adults at the age of 40, and they can live for more than 400 years.
Relations: Dwarves get along fine with gnomes, and passably with Human, Half-Elves, and Halflings. A common Dwarven saying is “The difference between an acquaintance and a friend is about a hundred years.” Humans, with their short lifespans, have a hard time forging truly strong bonds with Dwarves. The best Human-Dwarf friendship is often between a Human, and a Dwarf who liked the humans parents and grandparents. Dwarves fail to appreciate Elves’ subtlety and art, regarding Elves as unpredictable, fickle, and flighty. Still, Elves and Dwarves have, through the ages, found common cause in battles against Orcs, Goblins, and Gnolls. Through many joint campaigns, the elves have earned the Dwarves grudging respect. Dwarves mistrust Half-Orcs in general, and they grant individual Half-Orcs the opportunity to prove themselves.
Alignment: Dwarves are usually lawful and they tend toward good. Adventuring Dwarves are less likely to fit the common mold, however, since they’re more likely to be those who did not fit perfectly into Dwarven society.
Dwarven Lands: Dwarven Kingdoms usually lie deep beneath the stony faces of mountains, where the Dwarves mine gems and precious metals and forge items of wonder. Trustworthy members of other races are welcome in such settlements. Many Dwarves also live on the surface with Gnomes acting as farmers and tradesmen. Dwarves dislike water travel, so enterprising Humans frequently handle trade in Dwarven lands among river routes.
Dwarves in other Lands: Dwarves in other lands are typically mercenaries, weaponsmith, armorsmiths, jewelers or artisans. Dwarf bodyguards are renowned for their courage and loyalty, and they are well rewarded for their virtues.
Religion: The Chief god among the Dwarves is, Moradin, the Soul Forger. He is the creator of the Dwarves and expects his followers to work for the betterment of the Dwarven race as a whole. The Many Temples dedicated to Moradin are manned by a trained hierarchy of Priests, who from a young age have been devoted to the Temple fully.
Language: Dwarves speak Dwarven, which has its own Runic script. Dwarven literature is marked by the comprehensive histories of Kingdoms, Wars, and Family Trees through the Millennia. The Dwarven Alphabet is also used (with minor Variations) in Gnome, Goblin, Old Orcish, Giant, and Terran Languages. Dwarves often speak the languages of their friends (Humans and Gnomes) and the cunning Dwarves speak the languages of their enemies (Orc, Giant, Goblin), some even learn the languages of the Earth Creatures (Terran).
Names: A Dwarf’s name is granted to him by his clan elder, in accordance with tradition. Every proper Dwarven name has been used, and reused down through the generations. A Dwarf’s name is not his own, but instead his clans, if he misuses it or brings shame to his clan, than he shall be stripped of it. A Dwarf stripped of his name is not allowed to use any Dwarven name in its place.
Urskan: In Kul’Adar the Dwarves there have unified themselves into a confederation of clans; here some live in cities under ground, but most live on the surface in agrarian villages. The Urskan ascribe the least amount of concern towards the Dwarven caste system.
Hildragr: Among the North of Akeroth lay Hildragr a unified council of clan leaders rule acting in the best interests of the people and Hildragr itself. While not as ardent with the caste system as Olfgar, the Dwarves of Hildragr still hold the caste system with some emphasis.
Andhilia: The two empires of the Basin, Regeloth and Astravia stand, here the people are not truly Dwarves, but Dwarven blood runs deep within their veins. The Andhils have maintained the Dwarven traditions within their own way, and follow the Dwarven caste hierarchy with a zealous bastardization.
Olfgar: The mountain Dwarves of Olfgar caused the 2nd Apocalypse and because of this fall from grace the Dwarves of Olfgar hold Dwarven tradition with zealotry. This idea of Mas Maiorum (Old is better) has degregated the Dwarves of Olfgar down to a Theocratic-Fascist Police state, ruled by old arbitrary men who look to the past for answers of the future.
Duargar: The Deep Dwarves were created in 2A when Olfgarin Dwarves betrayed their own people in pursuit of wealth by helping the demons of the Countless Hells. The Duargar control a vast city-state network throughout the Underdark. Unlike their “surface” cousins they do not posses a clan-caste system, but instead worship their emperor as a God-King.