The Dwarves were the second of the prime races to be created by the gods. They were created from the stones and rocks beneath the surface of Tellest, which explains their hardy nature, and love for excavation. Before the sundering, the dwarves had originated from the area around Tellest’s equator. However, with the sundering of the planet, the dwarves became scattered into different clans, falling into different regions and continents.
Dwarves are small humanoids that have similar appearances to humans, elves, and other races of Tellest. They stand between three-and-a-half and four-and-a-half feet tall, but are slightly stockier than most other races. This is supposedly a result of them rising from beneath the depths of Tellest, where they were forced to crawl through small tunnels, and dig their way out. This shortened their height, while broadening their shoulders as they built muscle mass.
Dwarves have thick facial hair which it has been supposed was used to prevent damage to their faces while excavating to the surface. At present, however, dwarves keep their beards as a sign of honor. The longer the beard, the longer the dwarf has kept his honor. When dishonor is brought, by either failure or unsavory action, the beard is shaved, for the dwarf to start anew.
The often bronze complexion of a dwarf’s skin is said to be a mixture of all the things that had come from their underground birth. It is attributed to the idea that they were once made of metal, that sweat and dirt mixed together to coat their taut skin, and that the many fires that they use for blacksmithing and metallurgy has tanned them.
Clothing and Adornment
Because of their fine abilities in blacksmithing and metallurgy, and perhaps because of their history, it is almost impossible to find a dwarf who is not, in some way, adorned with metal. Chainmail is a popular choice, and helmets are worn whenever traveling. Because of their stout size, plate is less often used, as it is found to be restrictive to movement, but many great dwarf warriors have been known to trudge through the elements wearing the heavy armor with ease. Boots, too, are almost always metal. A dwarf would rather cover a pair of boots in dirt and mud than swap out the steel kickers for something cobbled from leather or cloth.
Body parts are not meant to be pierced. Ears, if pierced, are believed to hinder the communication with the earth that the dwarves are well versed in. Surface dwarves, who are exposed to human culture, are slightly more susceptible to the idea of body piercing.
Relations to Other Races
Obviously, there is some familiarity between a dwarf and a human. The dwarves have slightly larger noses and ears, more facial hair, and smaller eyes. Dwarves also share similarities to gnomes.
Dwarves are known to be very stubborn. To them, there is no project too big, no enemy too strong, and no army too swelling. This gets the race into trouble sometimes, as they rush headlong into danger without assessing the situation. There innate hardiness helps them push through the trouble they often encounter.
In spite of their stubborn nature, dwarves are quick to recant when they realize they have done something wrong, though even they will not admit to it, seeing that as a weakness. Rather, dwarves would rather make up for mistakes seemingly as accidentally as the mistake was made in the first place.
Dwarves are also very loyal. While they fight with everyone, all the time, their tenuous attitude is not to imply anger or dissatisfaction. They will fight to the last breath to protect their friends, and do not often stand down when an ally’s honor is at stake.
In a bizarre twist of common knowledge, dwarven females are said not to exist. Other accounts say that they simply look like dwarven males, and that other races cannot tell the difference. In actuality, it is simply part of dwarven culture to have their women well protected, far from battle, or any semblance of danger. While dwarven men are hard-pressed to avoid battle, it is uncalled for to allow a dwarven female to see anything that could be perceived as a threat. This goes hand in hand with the loyalty of a dwarf. While a dwarf would not dare to be called romantic, it is something along that line that guides their culture in this manner. They do not keep their women sheltered because they think less of them, but because of how much they care for them.
Dwarves are monogamous, and if, for some terrible reason, anything should happen to their mate, they will not find another, preferring to honor the love they once shared until the time of their own passing.
Dwarven families are long running. Because dwarves can live so long, they have a great deal of offspring, and are often alive long enough to see several generations age as well. It is because of this large family structure that the dwarves use the traditional “son of…” surname system. This both honors the father (and subsequent fathers of fathers, if it pertains to their title) and helps to distinguish the family, and clan if needed.
Dwarves often stay linked with their clan, but because of the adventurous nature of the race, they can be pulled far from their families for long periods of time before ever returning. These long absences are only cause for long celebrations upon homecoming, especially if great honor has been made.
Dwarves live in clans, with the rest of their family. Clans are usually denoted by environment, prior deeds, or as a reflection of personality. One such example is the Thunderhammer Clan. The Thunderhammer dwarves are called such because of both of the aforementioned criteria. They call a great pair of cliffs their home, where lightning often would strike, causing great peril to anyone who was caught unaware. They built a huge effigy of their first king, which towered between the two cliffs, and stood a great deal taller. The lightning strikes this colossal statue instead of the cliffs. The clan name also denotes their personality, in this instance, the furious speed at which they will attack, and defeat, an enemy.
Behavior toward Other Races
Humans and gnomes are favored races to the dwarves, though it is rumored that orcs are fast on their way at being on the same level. All three of the races have members that are very unique, and it appeals to the dwarves.
The dwarves are friendly with the gnomes because they have found ways to serve purposes for each other. The dwarves protect and shelter the gnomes in exchange for assistance with alchemy and engineering. The gnomes are almost considered the “little brother” race of the dwarves.
Humans are among the dwarves’ greatest allies. More than once, the two races have faced insurmountable odds in battle, only to come out as the victor. The dwarves also struck up an alliance as a way of asking for forgiveness for their prior deeds. When there were only the three prime races, the dwarves played part in the exile of humans. When the humans finally reappeared on Tellest, they were quick to gain favor with them. While dwarves and humans rarely live together, it has not been unheard of for larger clans of dwarves to construct nearby annexations of their own cities to serve as a sub-region of their city for the humans (as they have done for the gnomes).
As odd as it is to see, dwarves and orcs have become close over their battle-forged past. The races both respect each other as fine warriors, and have both taken large strides to become tolerant of each other.
While the dwarves have made fast friends of the humans, gnomes and orcs, their behavior towards goblins and elves are strained at best.
Dwarves do not like goblins. They find them to be sneaky and mischievous, and they often find them cavorting in the dark places that they have begun to excavate. The dwarves had begun to find this nothing more than disrespectful, but the goblins made things all the more personal when they first started bringing down the mines the dwarves were working within.
The relationship between dwarves and elves is very tenuous. Once upon a time, elves and dwarves allied against the humans, exiling them from the surface. Once the third prime race was gone, however, dwarves began to wonder just how long it would be before the elves would desire their absence as well. Dwarves began to retreat to their own holes soon after, not willing to test the entire race of elves against their own. The relationship only weakened once humans reappeared and the dwarves made quick friends with the returning race.
Dwarves are fluent in common and dwarvish. They also pride themselves in knowing bits and pieces of the elven languages, which were learned just to inconvenience that race.
Dwarves write in dwarven primarily, which looks very runic, but many also know how to write in common. The dwarves are thought of as the primary lorekeepers of Tellest. Their books are large and long, and carry a vast amount of knowledge of ages long past within their pages.
The dwarves are devout in their religion, believing in the same gods as the humans. Some say that the dwarves are even more devout than the humans in their worship to the gods. As such, it is believed that dwarves are one of, if not the most favored races of the gods.
The names of the gods are different to the dwarves than any other race on Tellest. Every other race knows the gods by the same exact names. Dwarves, through their special bond with the gods, know them differently.
The dwarves are the second of the prime races of Tellest. For a long while, the prime races were the only beings of higher intelligence that Tellest had to offer. However, even though the dwarves were the second race created, it is inferred that they were the last of the three to inhabit the surface (or near-surface) world.
Myths and Legends
It is said that one of the dwarven kings will unite all the clans, and that under his guidance, the dwarven race will thrive once again. Under one banner, the dwarves would be a powerful force indeed.
Dwarves are a much talked about facet when talking about the city of Kathka. Supposedly, the dwarves outnumbered any other race that lived in the multiracial city and that because of that, the king of the establishment was one of the dwarves. Because none can prove the existence of Kathka, no one can prove the claims of the dwarves either, though their stubborn nature is more than enough to convince them.
Dwarves are a race of diggers. Many of their machines have special implications for mining capabilities, which they sometime apply to combat. They have unique manners of performing blacksmithing and metallurgy, and are also quite proficient at brewing. Their craftsmanship knows no bounds, as dwarves are known to create some of the biggest architectural wonders known to Tellest.
The majority of the race prefers not to delve too deeply into magic. That being said, sometimes it is necessary for some members of the race to fill those rolls.
Priests (and to a lesser extent, paladins) perform holy magic to heal allies and punish the especially wicked. Usually, a dwarf who studies holy magic will associate themselves with one of the gods, using their namesake as a window through which to channel their energy.
Dwarves who use offensive magic are very hard to come by. The dwarves are a proud race which believes that fighting is meant to be done head on. As such, magi and wizards are almost unheard of. As rare as they are, however, they have been known to exist. It is more common to see a dwarven geomancer, as they are more than used to communicating with the earth.
Dwarves separate their warriors into brigades. Each one of the groups performs a specific function that they excel at. Upon completing an objective, the successful brigades usually fall upon their allies, reinforcing them with haste.
Weapons and Tools
Dwarves favor axes and maces, finding them to do the most damage to the largest amount of enemies. A common saying of the dwarves: “Why stab when you can swing?” The quicker an enemy can be put down, in the eyes of the dwarves, the better.
Dwarves are a huge fan of siege weaponry. Catapults, ballistae and drilldozers are all utilized in siege combat.
Wars and Enemies
There is a joke among humans that there has never been a race that the dwarves have not been at war with. While many of the wars the dwarves have involved themselves in have been cursory at best, it is rare to find a race that has willingly opposed the dwarves. As much distaste as a dwarf will have for another, they will always avoid war (however skirmishes are more than welcome).
Enemies are much more notable. The goblins are forefront of the enemies of the stout race. The dwarves do not take kindly to those who would hurt them, and the destruction of mines and tunnels does not sit well with the dwarves.