|Subraces||Mithorrin, Aldor, and Urdweld|
|Common Nicknames||Stout Folk, Mountain Men, Deep Folk|
|Naming Customs||Scandinavian, and Fantasy Dwarven names.|
|Distinctions||Stout, compact humans with exaggerated facial features and incredibly effective mining, smithing, and battle techniques|
|Maximum Age||130 years|
|Height||4’0” - 4’11”|
|Weight||Varies based on Subrace|
|Eye Colors||Varies based on Subrace|
|Hair Colors||Varies based on Subrace|
|Skin Tones||Varies based on Subrace|
The Dwarves of Aloria are a people defined by adversity in the face of great tragedy. Dwarves are said to have originated from the very mountains themselves, and some scholars still debate just how far back the existence of the Race goes, a difficult task given the majority of their time has been spent living underground. Dwarven Kingdoms once occupied great and awe-inspiring caverns of stonework and glittering gemstones, and the mightiest of surface and subterranean fortresses whose ruins yet litter Ellador. A suspicious people, they have been forced to immigrate into Ailor society in order to survive deadly encounters with Dakkar, Isldar and the greed of their own people. Up until a few short years ago, it seemed to many like their people risked dying entirely. But with newfound wealth and hope spawning from the depths of Ellador, the Dwarven people are beginning to find a real foothold in all corners of the world, spurred on by the uncovering of a third split of Dwarven society in the Urdweld. Along with the Aldor and Mithorrin, who are still greatly divided peoples within the same Race, the Dwarves are united by their adaptive personalities, hardy bodies, and shrewd tactical minds. They are a people defined by their Clans, their Kings, and their almost unilateral faith in Duindin and his teachings.
Dwarves can generally be described as very short humanoids, though upon closer inspection their proportional differences become apparent. Dwarves are broader than their Ailor cousins by a considerable margin; though to make them have a comparable weight despite their lacking height. Dwarves do not grow above five feet in height, with the smallest of their folk coming in at four feet tall. Females tend to be a few inches shorter and a little less broad than the males, though they remain thicker and stickier than most other Human Races. A Dwarf’s lifespan is about 130 years, but earlier deaths are common. While Dwarves reach maturity at a comparable speed to Humans, they will begin to show grey in their beards shortly after their one hundredth birthday, and will only begin to show dehabilitagine effects of aging one year prior to their death. Dwarves will usually sprout brown, red, and black hair, and very rarely golden hair. Dwarven eye colors tend to stay around black, brown, or grey. All Dwarves can very occasionally have blue eyes, and this is thought to be a child who has received a blessing from Duindin.
All Dwarves have three interesting traits owed to their stocky bodies and the hardy lifestyle of their ancestors. Their respiratory systems are incredibly adaptive after evolving to suit the harsh conditions their ancestors endured. This means that Dwarves can extract oxygen from heavily contaminated or dirty air. They’re capable of breathing smoke with only minor discomfort, and poison gasses have dramatically reduced effects on them. For example, gas potent enough to knock out an Ailor will only make a Dwarf feel very fatigued. Dwarves are incredibly resistant to poisons entering their bodies through other means as well, taking roughly thrice the dosage of the other Races for any effects to begin to show. Dwarves have a curiously accelerated healing rate when compared to other Human Races. As a general rule, a Dwarf will spend half as much time in a healing house than an Ailor will with identical injuries, and their bones will be twice as unlikely to break. A Dwarf’s wounds will clot fairly quickly, blood forming into thick, protective scabs to shelter open injuries. Dwarves take in a very demanding diet to keep up with these abilities, needing twice as much food to feast upon as even the hardiest of humans. Famine is a constant concern for the Dwarven people, making them ideal trading partners for those lands with plenty of agricultural gains. Dwarves who live very average physical lifestyles will garner enough exercise to maintain a “chiseled” physique, resulting in the stout but powerful people. This varies a little when dealing with Urdweld who have a skinnier, slightly hunched build. Dwarves who do not engage themselves physically will earn a most impressive beer gut, and become more fat than stocky within a few short years. Dwarven magic users tend to suffer this most of all, as do scholars. Half-Dwarves will take on a Dwarven appearance over whatever the other parent was, though they do inherit the above quirks at lessened effectiveness. As a final note, a half-Dwarf will always age at the same speed as an Ailor, with an identical lifespan, regardless of parent Races. Aldor tend to have slightly tanned skin. Finally, female dwarves are technically capable of growing beards, but it takes dwarven women five years to grow a full beard.
Mithorrin can best be described as “traditional” Dwarves. Up until the year 26 AC, they were the only species of Dwarf known to exist. Mithorrin tend to have very pale skin. Their facial features are large and dramatic, if not a little bloated. Their brow, nose, ears, and jaw tend to stick out away from their face. Mithorrin will style themselves very aggressively to reflect their culture and personality, with braided or wildly-cut hair. Braids, mohawks, shaved heads, or grown out long hair are all very common among the Mithorrin, and males are also fond of growing out and styling their beards with equal dramatism. The more elaborate a beard the more potential for trouble however, as it is common all dwarven cultures for one dwarf to tug on another’s beard, usually as a sign of dominance or disrespect. Mithorrin lie on the more extreme end of the physical spectrum for Human species and are capable of carrying around twice their body weight on their backs. Males and females aren’t entirely similar, but they’re certainly not diverse, with universally broad, strong builds. With origins in the Elladorian Holds, their skin is always on the paler side and their hair is often light, with blondes, reds, and lighter browns as the vastly dominant colors. Black and darker hair colors aren't as common among the Mithorrin. Common eye colors are greys, blues, and occasional greens. Mithorrin Clans tend to be centered around Duindin and can be considered more traditional, and Dwarf-centric.
Aldor have undergone centuries of inbreeding with Ailor cultures, and as a result look far more approachable and pleasant to the Ailor eye than their Mithorrin counterparts. They have very similar faces to the Ailor, but mostly maintain a stocky, Dwarven build (Though, naturally, they aren't as wide as the Mithorrin). Gender diversity has also been wildly enhanced by mixed genetics. Male Aldor tend to have broader, rather masculine frames, while female Aldor tend to have smaller (but still broad by Ailor standards), rather feminine frames. Physically, Aldor are less impressive than their cousins, and while they can hold more weight than an Ailor, they tend to lose out in shoving matches due to their short limbs. Perhaps the most notable trait of the Aldor is their diversity. Centuries of blending with Ailor culture has spread the Aldor far and wide. They can be found as far as Daendroc or Ithania, and their skin, hair, and eye color vary as much as the natives of these lands. An Aldor from Daendroc can be darkly tanned with brown hair and eyes, for example. Aldor do not tend to identify themselves by Clans, being far more prone to ingratiate themselves in Ailor society. Aldor tend to be very adventurous, and when Dwarven remains are found within ruins, it is more often an adventurous Aldor than an elusive, unburied Mithorrin. Aldor tend to die young due to their adventurous and glory-driven lifestyle.
Songaskia and Qadir have produced their own variants of Aldor, known as the Desert-Aldor and the Brown-Dwarves respectively. While their Proficiencies remain the same as "normal" Aldor, their cultural background tends to favor the particular background of their non-Dwarf parent. Desert-Aldor are particularly known to be very self-aggrandizing, seeing themselves as bother protectors and inheritors of Dragon Culture, and in keeping with the Dwarven ideals of Duindin. They tend to be incredibly confident and at times lack the reverence seen from other Dwarves. Brown-Dwarves are known to be the most intelligent of the Dwarves, rivaling if not outright being more clever than even the Urdweld. They are also supremely skilled in goldsmithing and fine craft works, though half Qadir Aldor do tend to be very rare. Both groups are almost always ostracized by Dwarven society, as they are a perceived betrayal of various Dwarf tenants and traditions. These Desert-Aldor always have dark skin tones, and possess the same visuals as half Ailor Aldor in terms of body shape. As for hair and eye color, they can either take after Dwarven or Qadir/Songaskian colorations.
Said to be so ugly that they sought gold to afford good looks, the Urdweld are considered eyesores among the Mithorrin and Aldor. This is cultural bias at its greatest, as the main difference between the Urdweld and their brethren kin is the large red noses and pronounced brow ridges that give off the impression of an eternally angry expression. They have a very similar physical size and build to the other splits of dwarfkin, but they are typically a few inches shorter and less muscular. A remarkable trait of the Urdweld is their hair, which grows an inch every week, six times as fast as any other Race. It is very common to find Urdweld Dwarves with hair sticking out almost every part of their skin. Not even their women are spared from this freakish growth, as they too are known to grow hair in every place a man could expect. Their skin ranges from a sickly pale to ashen grey and even darker shades of black, as hundreds of years with very little contact with the outside world has kept them away from the sun. The Urweld split enjoys a slighter longer lifespan of 150 years of age. Urdweld hair, of note, is near always black but appears in a bizarrely wide variety of styles, cuts, and textures. A dark blue hair color is a rarity among their people. Somewhat more common is a sickly dark blue eye color, though about half maintain the usual dwarven eye colors.
All Dwarves will have a unifying tactical, enduring, and intensely stubborn view of the world. Given the many tragedies inflicted on their people, all Dwarves possess a hardy mental fortitude to match their physical constitution. While capable of being “merry” with all sorts of folks, all Dwarves are also inherently distrustful of other Races, and thus are prone to intense loyalties and bitter grudges. Additionally, Dwarves of all sorts value competency and strength, though each of the Dwarven peoples has a different perspective on what it means to truly be strong in the face of adversity.
The Mithorrin, being the most traditional of the Dwarven species, greatly value loyalty and the honoring of their ancestors. Unity is a strong trait within these Dwarves; they will gather a close-knit circle of friends and neighbors whenever possible. Mithorrin consider the safety and advances of the Dwarven people paramount above all, and worship Duindin more intensely than their brothers. While this circle will usually remain among Dwarves, the Mithorrin will occasionally befriend a non-Dwarf. This is a great honor to Dwarven society, with these few friends of the Dwarven people being christened “Ørbrodir”, or “Brother of Stone“. Mithorrin will go out of their way to be “Merry” with all, using that word to differentiate between those they consider true friends and those they will drink and sing and do business with. Mithorrin have slow-burning tempers, but when they boil over they are capable of an intense display of fury.
Aldor, being the product of Ailor and Mithorrin relationships over several centuries, are greatly opposed to the traditionalistic practices of the Mithorrin. Like the Mithorrin they possess an intense mental fortitude, but they see this trait as proof Dwarves are meant to be free and act as individuals, rather than remain in the “stuffy” clans of the Mithorrin. Aldor are more suited to inventor and tinkerer work, with some preferring to study with other Races to advance their chosen technology. A Mithorrin Dwarf may see an obstacle as something to be endured and fought directly, but an Aldor is more likely to manipulate others to solve the problem at hand. Their thought process is immediate, bordering on the impulsive, a stark contrast from the usually patient Mithorrin. Aldor are not quite as disciplined as their Dwarven brothers and are more susceptible to addiction and vices. That said, they are usually very empathetic to non-Dwarves, and make for fine merchants and workers within Ailor societies.
When it comes to engineering and finance there is only one Race that stands without a rival, and those would be the Urdweld. As much as the Mithorrin and Aldor hate to admit it, it was the Urdweld who truly made the Dwarves masters of the mines, with their astute, calculative minds set on efficiency and hoarding. Urdweld have begin to typically wear jewelry from other races to flaunt their influence. The Urdweld’s greed is a point of contention among the Dwarves, it having driven hundreds of conflicts between both their people and outsiders. If there anyone who would sell their mother, it would be an Urdweld, and as it happens they are actually known to do so. Unhinged capitalism aside, the Urdweld are quite fond of spending their hard-earned wealth. The indulgent waste of Urdweld nobility can cause economic booms for entire cities in Aloria, and even the lowborn of Urdweld are able to throw away money that would make the average Regalian merchant sweat.
Dwarven Soul is an ability inherent in all three splits of the Dwarven people. While the particular abilities of all three manifest in slightly different ways, all Dwarves are able to call upon a primal force within them to enhance their abilities and to manipulate the world around them and themselves. The exact source of this power is a closely guarded secret and is even unknown to the vast majority of the Dwarven people themselves. The common view of these abilities is that they are given by the Dwarven spirit Duindin and the only known ways for these abilities to be lost to a Dwarf is through particular afflictions such as Vampirism, Phantasma, etc. or through isolation from their kind for a period of more than a week. Dwarven Soul manifests in six particular “Souls”, with each soul granting a particular power, usually for the duration of a week. The names of each Soul come from Dwarven folk heroes who were said to be alive during Duindin’s initial lifespan and were his trusted companions and advisors. The Dwarven Soul is chosen when a Dwarf awakes in the morning on the day they are able to change to a new soul. The decision is based on whatever they most desire to accomplish, create, or manipulate in the world in that moment of waking. The choice can come from foreknowledge of that day’s work, but more often than not is the true desire of the Dwarf upon their first waking moments. Dwarven Soul cannot be interrupted, cancelled, or blocked by any other Power besides the Maraya Race-Weave. Once a Soul has been taken on by a Dwarf, they are unable to change it for a full week.
|The Dwarven Souls||Effect / Ability|
|Soul of Halsörn (Health)||The Soul of Halsörn allows a Dwarf to soldier through wounds that would fell most others. This ability allows a Dwarf to focus their willpower to such an extent that they are briefly, for 15 seconds, completely impervious to all pain. While still traditionally hardy, this does not make them immune to the physical harm that will follow, nor the pain from wounds that will be felt after the 15 seconds have gone by. In addition, after the 15 seconds have elapsed, the Dwarf will become unable to engage in further combat from exhaustion and requires a full night's sleep to fully recover.|
|Soul of Lågna (Calm)||The Soul of Lågna allows a Dwarf to channel their will to a complete desire for calm. They take on a stoic nature that does not allow for them to be emotionally compromised, maintaining a slightly welcoming, but largely stoic demeanor that cannot be broken by any emotional or physical abuse or temptation. This Soul is only useable by Urdweld, who desire complete control of their emotions so that the efficient accruement of wealth can be prioritized.|
|Soul of Hånfverk (Creation)||The Soul of Hånfverk allows a Dwarf to make a singular item of extraordinary value, their Metallurgy Arts Proficiency raising by 10 points for the purpose duration of the item creation. Through a long forging process that involves the sacrifice of their own blood and a full day spent forging that one singular item, they are able to create this extraordinary object. This process can only be done once every two weeks, as when the item has been created, the Dwarf loses the ability to take on a new Soul for a fortnight. The physical and emotional drain that comes when invoking the Soul of Hånfverk is said to take five years off a Dwarf’s lifespan and appearance, ensuring it is only used as the mightiest gift a Dwarf can bestow to another. Only Mithorrin can take this Soul.|
|Soul of Bråverk (Truth)||Those who believe in any of the Dragon related faiths are able to use the Will of Denial to create an area of effect in which Void or Exist based Magic simply does not work. This is done by crushing a bone-bangle on a traditional Dragon Worship armband (which may have up to 3 bone bangles on it at any given time for balance). When such a bone bangle is crushed, it quickly spreads out white Soul Essence dust in a radius of 10x10 blocks around the Dragon Worshiper, in which Magic cannot be cast from, or cast into for at least 10 minutes. However, it has no effect on already cast Magic or Magic that has already taken hold inside the area. The area also cannot move post-cast.|
|Soul of Torvakt (Protect)||The Soul of Torvakt, usually only used by Dwarves trained in shielding, allows an individual to enter a state of chillingly calm defense. They are able to hold their ground and deflect or parry a blow, and stop the attacker in their tracks. The attacker will be unable to pass by the dwarf or move out of melee range of the dwarf, and can only attack the dwarf before them. This can only be upheld for 30 seconds and can only be done to protect one particular individual, that the dwarf in question decided upon when they took the Soul, whether it be to allow them time to run or recover. It is broken if any other individual attempts to harm the attacker, or if the Dwarf in question attempts to harm the attacker.|
|Soul of Hämnd (Revenge)||The Soul of Hämnd is seen as something of a taboo in Dwarven society and is very rarely used as a result. The Soul of Hämnd allows a Dwarf to brand an enemy as a “Gravemarked”, which, upon physical contact, will mark the individual in the eyes of all Dwarves as such, resulting in a dark, smokey aura that can only be seen by other Dwarves, indicating the person is not to be trusted. This is only ever done against an individual who commits a grievous slight or atrocity against the Dwarven people and can only be lifted by the Dwarf who marked them, or if a full month has passed since the marking. If the Dwarf who marked them is to die, the Gravemark will be lifted. The Gravemarked will feel or perceive nothing at all.|
Dwarves are scarcely found in the texts of other Races due to their self-imposed xenophobia and isolation throughout most of their ancient history. Dwarves appeared to simply sprout up from the mountains, a myth the Dwarves seem more than happy to spread. In the days before the oldest written records of Ølovomm, the days the “Ancient Holds” were rumored to exist, but very few records of these exist into the present day. Rumors of such Ancient Holds existing as far north as Jorrhildr have spread into the current day, adding to the number of dead adventurers littering the frozen wastes of Jorrhildr. Rumors of ancient subterranean Holds connected to vast and fortunate cave systems keep adventurers coming to Ellador and Jorrhildr both. The first “modern” Dwarven Hold was the Ølovomm Hold, established somewhere around 700 BC by a group of a dozen or so Dwarven colonies who--in a rare moment of Mithorrin innovation--observed the changing world around them and sought to unite themselves in order to remain relevant and successful in the developing world. Each Hold’s Kings came together to form the Hold’s council, or “Mountain Council.” To this day, Holds operate on an Mountain Council of exactly seven Kings. Even though this was never intended to be a permanent system, the fierce traditionalism of the Mithorrin has set the method in stone for good.
Dwarven population skyrocketed due to Ølovomm’s success, and as the centuries went on, more Dwarves broke off from Ølovomm to form their own Holds in Ellador’s many mountain ranges. The Holds Skorr, Østrey, Tehl-Humm, and Æthrammar were all born over the next few centuries and operated on a disturbingly identical system to their father-hold. In fact, every Hold functioned so similarly that a Dwarf could be placed in any of them and live their life with near-complete familiarity, minus that with the populous. Years of prosperity tempted fate, and eventually the Dwarves had their first hostile encounter with another Race. The Dwarves were not unfamiliar with the other Races of Aloria, but certainly treated them with distrust. The Dregodar had been long-time neighbors of the early Dwarves, but contact was sparse. Traditionally, the Dregodar constructed their temples atop the tallest mountains in the region, which often sat them right atop the Dwarven Holds. The Mithorrin only considered their lands to be subterranean, but somewhere around 170 BC, Altalar spies discovered a scheme devised by the Kings of the Hold of Østrey. The Mountain Council of this Hold had been secretly hoarding a mass of treasure for their own benefit, including a small but beyond valuable collection of Starris. To avoid a civil war, these Østrey Kings made a deal with the Nelfin agents, organizing an attack against the nearby Dregodar. The other Holds followed suit, and the Dregodar people were quickly massacred; their temples destroyed, their people slaughtered, their Dragons butchered and their remains hoarded by the Dwarves, quickly casting any hopes of an alliance to the winds.
By 56 BC, the fleeting alliance had dissolved due to the latter party’s growing distrust. Alone, the Dwarves continued their offense on the Dregodar and alone killed the last of the Black Scale Mountain Dragons. However, the beast's reincarnation as the Great Ice Dragon spelled disaster for the Dwarves. Hundreds, if not thousands of lives were lost to the Dragon’s magic. Though the Dregodar vanished from Aloria after this event, the Dwarves took this loss heavily as it was their first substantial loss of life in war. After this event the Østrey Kings moved their secretive treasury and departed the Hold with a small band of followers, retreating south. Dwarven history leveled for the next few decades, remaining steady and predictable just as its inhabitants demanded. Throughout and after the war with the Dregodar, Holds had continued to sprout up, with the famous Holds Brohl, Grebor, and Aldruin being formed around this time along with a few others. The Dwarves kept their doors sealed throughout the Cataclysm, still fearful of interaction with the other Races. Despite their best efforts, doom eventually came from within to shake the Dwarven people.
The Dakkar were uncovered in 26 AC in the Hold of Skorr, which had grown famous for its bountiful and astronomically deep mines. The Dwarves of the Hold were treated to immediate hostilities, and after years without conflict and no specialized weapons, the Hold only held out against the Dakkar horde for three days before the populous was routed and slaughtered. The Hold of Skorr became the first of any Dwarven Hold to fall. A year later, a second Hold, Fummd, was overrun. Dwarven refugees became common in surrounding Ailor settlements. These would become the Aldor over the course of time, but in these early days, they were treated with the same distrust their ancestors had shown the Ailor. The Dwarves and the Dakkar remained locked in a subterranean war for centuries. The next Hold to fall was the first to rise, the Hold of Ølovomm, resulting in a massive crash in Dwarven morale.
In the years following, the two remaining Holds of Grebor and Aldruin would make many attempts to recover the strength of their people but fail as many Dwarves, particular the Aldor Clans, flocked to Regalia to assist them in the many wars following 300 AC. A brief alliance was made with Regalia, along with Orcish smiths, to construct the Great Dredge Fleet of 302 AC, a mobile force fueled by Regalian coal, Dwarven engineering and Orc explosives. This was a decisive alliance Regalia’s ultimate victory in the conflict. With the announcement of the 11th Creed, hope for a renewed Dwarven Empire was made possible, with many Dwarves attempting to create a lasting alliance with the Empire, but each ultimately failed. In 304 AC, with the assistance of Regalian Black Powder, the Dwarves were able to find a curious gas deep below their remaining Holds. With this technology, Airships were soon flying across Aloria, and the Regalian Empire paid the Dwarves considerably for this advancement in technology. This Loftoren Gas would make airships more readily available and became a crucial part of Dwarven metallurgy practices moving forward. Then, in 305 AC, an illness spread like wildfire across Aloria. The Dakkar were forced to retreat to the very lowest depths of Ellador, confined there and leaving the grand majority of the Dwarven Holds uninhabited. Tragically, the Dwarven people had suffered too many losses and simply did not have the numbers to retake all of their Holds. However, in the spring of 305 AC, after a little over a year of Isldar forces slowly advancing on the Dwarven Holds, the Isldar attacked and ultimately took Aldruin. Most of the populace was led off in chains, and with Grebor alone standing, ready to blow themselves up, the Dwarven people reached their lowest point.
A year later, the misery and woe of the Dwarven people were finally answered. Andinn Blackhammer, himself a minor King in the Hold of Grebor, set off into the depths of their Hold. He emerged many months later, along with a veritable army of Urdweld, a Dwarven split-species that had been removed from surface life for generations. With them they brought riches untold from the depths of the world, and Andinn himself with a one-handed Starris Warhammer, the likes of which the world had never seen. He rode out from Grebor within a week and charged the Isldar forces who had been besieging Aldruin. As luck would have it, the Isldar had already begun their retreat to centralize their hold on Ellador, but Aldruin met with a small band of Isldar and for the first time in their history, scored a resounding victory for the Dwarven people over the Isldar. In short order, he was named “Lord of the Dwarven Kingdoms”, with some whispering him to be the second coming of Duindin himself. Whatever the case, what was undeniable was the influx of Urdweld and Mithorrin into Human settlements. Many went sent by King Blackhammer himself to make lasting ties with the Regalian Empire and other world powers, as many Holds were left in ruin and unrecovered. With Grebor and Aldruin back under Dwarven control, and many Dwarves being sent out abroad to make lasting ties, the fate of the Dwarven people finally seemed to be looking up.
Aldor society does not formally exist, instead adapting to whatever society they are born into. Mithorrin society has a very strong, flat structure. A Clan of Dwarves tends to share the same surname, or similarly styled surname, being led by a King, recognized as the ruler of said Clan. Being centered around the idea that all within the Clan are equals (so long as they pull their weight), kindness and decency is expected among most Dwarves. Kings are chosen by bloodline by their respective Clans and while respected, their word is more suggestion than law. A King will generally pass on the title of King to their eldest son, but in times of great strife, it is best assumed that the most competent Dwarf will lead a Clan as their King. Chosen Kings have exactly the same rights as other Mithorrin, but are generally treated with more respect and gratitude. Mithorrin society is so strong that those who leave it generally struggle to identify superiors and inferiors. A fresh trainee may be given a newly-forged Warhammer, while a hardened veteran may content himself to a simple club. Mithorrin women, like Urdweld, tend to be more fierce and ambitious than women in many Ailor cultures, but the majority will focus this efficiency on “keeping the hearth strong”, which can range from cooking to metalworking to the defense of a Hold. Female Dwarves never become Kings, instead preferring to serve as engravers, homemakers, merchants, or Forge-Sisters (a priestess) of Duindin. Male Dwarves tend to be far more humbled. They’re happy to be smiths, soldiers, mining workers, and other less refined jobs. Urdweld will organize themselves by age, with the eldest having the final say in matters of business on behalf of the Urdweld within their Clans. Urdweld have a curious fascination with Duindin, and seem to think of him as more of a mighty and demanding god than a kind, just one, and this reflects in Urdweld’s high expectations of excellence and business savvy amongst each other.
The Dwarven political system is a relatively simple one. Every Clan of Dwarves must have a King, running of a Monarchy system. Each King is seen as the nearest representation of Duindin among their people, that usually being the most battle hardened, wise, and hard working of their people. In each Hold, seven Kings form a “Mountain Council”, so named due to each Clan typically coming from a different section of mountainous caverns. Some Holds, such as the Battlehammer controlled Aldruin, prefer to let a prominent King take a leading position in the Hold, with an Duin Council acting beneath them. If a King is to die, they are replaced that very day by the Clan as a whole, typically coming down to a simple vote, and usually falling to the son of the former King, assuming they are of age and competent enough to handle the position. The Kings essentially serves as a ‘face’ for the Hold; they handle trade deals, immigration, negotiations, and inner-Hold disputes. With the recent ascension of the Blackhammer Clan, Kings are also expected to take constant leadership in military conflicts and expansion. Dwarven Holds are surprisingly huge, rivaling the size of Human Kingdoms. Clans and Kings may exist outside Dwarven Holds, with Andinn Blackhammer, in particular, professing a need for new Clans to be formed abroad, but they follow much the same political structure.
Aldor practically have no politics of their own, since they lack any sort of unity as a Race, other than their tendency to blend into Mithorrin Clans. Most are politically apathetic and carefree, with a fleeting, critical interest of politicians and their craft. Others may be straight up anarchistic, and work to disassemble or slander political movement simply because they disagree so vehemently with it. Urdweld, given their smaller numbers, are run by a small council of “Deep Ministers” that handle all matters of business and alliance brokering, and delegate particular tasks and “city-targeting” to smaller groups of Urdweld. Urdweld are encouraged to travel to Ailor and other such settlements to broker alliances, gather wealth and intelligence, and establish Clans.
Aldor do not follow any particular culture at all, much like their societal and political practices. They are free spirits above all and will either assimilate into Mithrodin culture or Ailor depending on their birthplace.
Urdwelder Culture is a harsh way of life. Compassion and empathy are foreign concepts to the Urdweld. The closest thing one comes to sympathies in Urdwelder diasporas is to assist those whose downfall hurts their interests. It isn’t uncommon for Urdweld of the same blood to offer one another favors in times of need, so long as the debts can be repaid in due time. To be in the debt, for an Urdweld, is a great shame for themselves and their clan. The market decides everything after all, and if a Dwarf isn’t able to keep up then they had this coming. Debts are an awfully integral part of Urdweld culture, as clans are renowned to keep close accounting of every minute detail of every debt and grudge they possess. The grudges of the Urdweld have been the undoing for countless figures and societies throughout the eons they have dwelled under mountains or in the great cities of Aloria. While they may not possess empathy, they certainly respect the debts and grudges of their kinsmen, and will do everything in their power to strike a name out of their tomes, even generations after the death of the author.
Mithorrin Culture is incredibly pragmatic and rigid. Indecision is looked down upon, with a Mithorrin Dwarf generally being expected to take to a trade at maturity and stick with it for life. This culture-ingrained lifelong dedication makes the Mithorrin natural masters at their crafts, if not a little jaded or uninspired. Some Mithorrin will take to their craft with flying colors, while others will find it unfulfilling and exasperating. Both are expected to follow their choice to the grave. In Mithorrin culture, beauty is functionality, so only the most functional, critical, and integral items are embellished with the Dwarven Alphabet and script the people consider appealing. Cornerstones of bridges, for example, are often ornately decorated, as might be the central pillar of the King’s chamber. The Mithorrin also practice blocky, squared-off tattooing. Traditional Mithorrin tattoos always originate from the chest over the heart, as it’s seen as the integral piece of the Dwarf’s body. Proud or successful Dwarves may have their tattoos stretch to their fingertips or knees, but the design will always originate at the heart.
Pipe-smoking is of crucial importance to Dwarven life. A Dwarf crafts his own pipe when they reach adulthood, and carry it with them as a treasured possession. Typically this pipe is inscribed with the Dwarf's name and the names of their mother; a reminder that home is not far when the proper time is taken. The pipeweed used by Dwarves often are underground fungi and plants, with a particular strain, “Duindin’s Draft”, is rumored to have magical properties, but this is met with merry laughter from the Mithorrin, who proclaim it to simply be “the finest smoke one will find away from Duindin’s realm”.
Most Aldor nowadays are Unionists, Old Gods worshippers, or agnostic. Mithorrin, however, keep to their old ways as always, with continued worship to the Dogma of Duindin. This obscure religion is loosely comparable to ancestor worship, though the particular focus is on Duindin himself. Duindin was a Dwarf of great renown, who ruled over the Hold of Ølovomm as the one and only “Underking”. At this time, there were the Holds of Ølovomm in the Northern Mountains, the Skorr and Østrey to the East, the Tehl-Humm to the West and the hold of Æthrammar in the South. The only reason these Holds are known to exist is the above ground entrances or ruins each has. Many more are rumored to have secretive entrances dotting Ellador and Jorrhildr. In this age, Duindin was seen as a God walking among the early Dwarven Clans, capable of defeating any foe in combat with his magical, returning throwing hammer. Whether these tales are all hyperbole or based in some truth isn’t so important to his worshippers; the glory-filled stone tablets passed down through the Clans steel the resolves of many worshippers to this day. Priests and Priestesses of Duindin are referred to as the Forge-Brothers and Forge-Sisters, and tend to spread Duindin’s prime message to the Dwarven people. Duindin, as the father of all Dwarves and the only true creator and leader of their people, is to be honored by workmanship in smithing, stoneworking, fighting, and defending one’s clan. In the early days of Ølovomm, texts indicate followers of Duindin were capable of forging and bestowing magical boons, for both weapon and incantation alike. This age has long since past, whether true or not. Some theorize this is due to the loss of followers in Duindin’s faith. Duindin’s followers believe only by restoring the dwarven populace and those faithful to Duindin will such gifts be bestowed upon their people again.
Worship to Duindin is only done once a month when the moon is full. Clans will gather outside, typically among the peaks of their mountains, and set up a great outdoor smithy. Manipulating steam and mirror technology to capture the light of the moon, they will begin a 24-hour chant, smithing and creating all the while. The very greatest works of the Dwarven people are forged during this time, chanting and singing all the while. The Urdweld also proclaim to worship Duindin once a month, though their rituals are secretive and never done in the open, the Urdweld preferring to retreat in solitude, or among what few of their clansman they truly trust, and chant towards their deity in a loud and impassioned prayer. An Urdweld among the group may cut themselves and bleed onto a piece of worked metal, to be worked and forged into a glorious weapon. Rather than use it, however, Urdweld are more likely to sell it to continue amassing wealth, an all-important facet of their relationship with Duindin. To an Urdweld, Duindin was the most successful of any Dwarf and brought about an age of prosperity they hope to achieve again.
The Hold of Grebor has fully abandoned its ways of old and thrives on foreign trade. The Mithorrin remaining in the Holds use the Regal to promote foreign trade. Grebor’s main economic deals come from their contracting of steam and airship technology to the Regalian Empire. The Hold of Aldruin, having only just been reconquered, works off of a similar system, and is more open to outsiders living there than Grebor. Both Holds have deep and expansive mine systems they are in the midst of reconquering after the Dakkar Invasions. Steel, Ferr-Iron, and very rarely their own metals such as Metalitra will be sold to foreign traders and nations, themselves eager to get their hands in the profitable, if dangerous, markets of Ellador.
Steam power was an invention of the Dwarven people. Their Holds were warmed using steam and thermal heat, and many of these systems are still functioning today in even the most damaged Holds, like Alum-Berghul. Stonework traps involving the usage of pressure plates dot many Dwarven Holds to ward off intruders and outsiders; a Dwarf will be able to feel the shift in the stone beneath their feet and walk through the traps when entering a Hold or important chamber. Cog-work is readily evident in Dwarven Holds, though of a slightly clunkier nature than the fine clockwork machnications of the Qadir.
Combat and Warfare
Combat and conflict are as a part of Dwarven culture as their beards. Whether it’s splitting an opponent's kneecap into splinters, or resoundingly outmaneuvering a foe in business, every Dwarf is accustomed to and drawn to conflict and confrontation. In martial combat, shields are often used to bash and protect the Dwarves’ small frames. Axes and warhammers are of course favored by the Dwarven people, going along the matra of “A warhammer will shatter the kneecap, and the axe will shred the tendons behind it. Duindin may take care of the rest”. The Mithorrin’s compact size and furious strength makes them a true danger to any they can get their hands on. Generally, Aldor make up for their lack of combat ability by being great smooth-talkers, diplomats, or quick-thinkers.
With the arrival of the Urdweld came the arrival of the Urdthogg, a subrace of Bathogg that is uniquely capable of riding into tunnel systems. With it’s sleeker, jet-black mane and forward protruding tusks, the Urdthogg is capable of speeding its bearer along tunnel systems. It’s abnormal hind length strength allows it to climb steep walls for short bursts, making it a dangerous beast underground. These Urdthogg are being trained to work on the surface, but they have not yet been used, with smaller horses and war-ponies remaining in use by the surface clans. Dwarven mages are a true rarity among the Races, with most serving the Mountain Council of their Hold directly. Urdweld tend to have slightly more mages among their clans, with each clan typically having one Mage, who doubles as a sort of Priest to Duindin.
- Dwarves are known by their most treasured creation, Metalitra, a heavy sort of metal that features dark swirls across whatever it is made of, ideally heavy weapons like axes, battle hammers, maces and rarely platemail. This is used by all Dwarves and is even used for walls and defenses in Dwarven Holds. The Metalitra Ore shines and twinkles in the ground beneath Ellador, and produces beautiful dark goldish/bronze appearing products. More expensive than even Blacksteel, Metalitra weapons of power exist into the present day.
- Andinn Blackhammer has professed a desire to discover a ranged weapon capable of combating the Frost Wyverns of the Isldar. Despite the efforts of their best smiths, neither the forges of Aldruin or Grebor have succeeded, leading to hopes that the Clans moving abroad will innovate and craft such a weapon.
- The Urdweld are rumored to have been hidden below the surface of Ellador, in the western tunnels, for centuries, hoarding a large mine of Mithrantine and potentially more. Whatever the exact wealth of the Urdweld, what can’t be denied is each Urdweld who leaves Ellador does so with a pocket full of coin and a checkbook ready to be filled.