Dwarves are the singular playable race on the Dwarves! Server. With a long and storied history stemming from the Bormar Vale and spanning thousands of years, Dwarven culture has since evolved into a vibrant tapestry of tradition that has spread across the known world.
Today, the vast majority of these enterprising folk live in the great nation of Bormar, the dominant nation-state of the Dwarven people. It is here that they continue to thrive as masters of industry and trade. Whilst Dwarves still exist elsewhere, either in the neighboring region of Yeldamor, the underground realms of the Low Kingdoms, the tribes of Vingaborda, or in smaller Outposts dotted around the world, none of them can rival the sheer scope and reach of the Dwarves of Bormar.
Physiology[edit | edit source]
Dwarves are generally short, stocky individuals, with average heights ranging from 3 to 5’ and average weights ranging between 150 to 250 lbs. Due to their physiological structure, a great deal of this weight is sturdy muscle. Compared with Humans, Dwarves tend to be stronger with scarcely any physical training. However, they are often bested by Grol in terms of strength and endurance.
Naturally, Dwarves do not consider themselves to be short; rather, they consider Humans the Grol to be exceptionally tall, often teasing them as “long legs”. Despite this fact, and the surety of the Dwarven race, height is often the first thing brought up in an argument between a Dwarf and a Human.
Dwarven skin tones are just as varied as Humans, often depending on where they live or what they do. Pale Dwarves are quite common in the valleys and mountains of Bormar, whereas any Dwarves that have belonged to Outposts close to the Ariq will sometimes sport a much darker skin tone. A tiny fraction of Dwarves have grey skin, with this trait being much more common among Dwarves of the underground Low Kingdoms.
Hair and eye color are just as varied, with the main ones being shared with Humans; blonde, brown, or black hair and blue, green, or brown eyes. Again, some tiny fraction of the population has purple, gold, or red tinges to their eyes, which is more frequently seen in members of the Low Kingdoms.
History[edit | edit source]
The Clan Era[edit | edit source]
The precise origin of Dwarven society is unknown, with much of ancient Dwarven history being lost due to dead or dying oral histories. Regardless, it is commonly accepted that the Dwarves originated from a small valley in the Mar Mountains; the Bormar Vale. Some sources state that they traveled there from parts unknown, whilst other accounts merely have them begin in the Vale itself. With the resurgence of the Low Kingdoms, the origins of the Dwarves are hotly debated, but, no matter the particulars of a theory, the details remain the same.
The Bormar Vale, being in the center of the concentric rings of the Mar Mountains, provided a fertile setting from which the Dwarven people could rise. The mountains had their fair share of dangers, ranging from horrific beasts to the Grol, but the Dwarves lived for thousands of years in their respective holdings in isolation and relative peace.
Over time, small groups of Dwarves, often bonded by blood or pacts, would work together or compete for territory and resources. Often referred to as clans, kinfolk, or similar terms, these groups held their bonds towards each other as strongly as if they were family. Some clans would clash in skirmishes or even full-out wars, though few of these events are remembered today due to the lack of reliable written accounts. Some clans still hold their own records of such encounters, but they are often skewed towards the clan itself, regardless of the actual outcome. Slowly, the humble homes that dotted the nearby hills, valleys, and mountainsides, grew into towns, which would eventually become some of the greatest cities in the known world.
The Passkeeper Era[edit | edit source]
With the Mar Mountains sitting at the heart of the known world, no one could go from North to South, or East to West, without first passing through them. This often caused great disruption to the relatively peaceful lives of the Dwarves living in the mountains. At some point during these ongoing skirmishes, a collection of clans discovered the profitability of building large holdings along the border crossings of the Mar Mountains. Between charging tolls for passage, offering paid services for military escorts through dangerous regions, and building large centers of commerce within these heavily fortified mountain regions, these clans began forming fabulous stores of wealth in nearly unassailable locations. Eventually, other clans began to take notice that their attacks were leaving them ever weaker and more depleted of resources, whilst the peaceful clans–collectively referred to as the Passkeepers–were growing strong and wealthier without the dangers of combat.
Over time, these clans dissolved from their previous state of massive groups owning vast swathes of territory to their current state; either small groups of Dwarves clinging to an ancient aspect of their hometown, or simply a family that takes great pride in their name. These clans shifted towards a more peaceful mercantile lifestyle, seeking to share in the bountiful wealth the Passkeepers had discovered.
The Foundation Era[edit | edit source]
At this point, however, the Mar Mountains were split into countless smaller regions and territories, controlled by various families and Passkeepers. A vast array of Dwarven settlements soon realized that their prosperity could only be maintained through stability. Combining their strength into one, forming a unified nation was the next step.
It is believed, or at least widely held, that the first region to posit this idea was the spiritual home of the Dwarves; Bormar Vale. Shortly after this, other regions further away did the same, and the countless shards of the Mar Mountain regions slowly coalesced and grew into much larger Dwarven nations. Some regions joined their neighbors willingly, whilst others did not. The fighting that ensued lasted for decades until the Mar Mountains were encompassed by a handful of much larger regions, each of which held massive amounts of wealth and power.
The Bormar Era[edit | edit source]
An explosion of technological and societal developments followed, eventually resulting in the founding of Bormar, though as a much smaller region than it is now. The adoption of the Bormar calendar and the founding of the First House were some of the first signs of Bormar establishing itself as a foremost world power. It was at this time that Bormar began to utilize Outposts to further expand its reach.
The larger regions enjoyed a time of peace and prosperity and, when it came time for Bormar to begin to expand its borders once more, most of them came willingly after seeing the burgeoning nation's sturdy foundations as most fitting for the Dwarven race. The region known as Kentlehell, however, notably did not and held out as an aggressive neighbor.
Sadly, with its neighbor still posing a threat, war was inevitable. Hostilities eventually arose and Bormar and Kentlehell clashed in a mighty war in the year 587 BY. After twelve long years of fighting, Bormar arose as the victor and a united Dwarven nation was finally born.
Culture[edit | edit source]
Dwarven culture is a complex and detailed thing, often being an incredibly hard-to-grasp concept among non-Dwarves. All Dwarves have a number of core values that are instilled in them from an early age, with these essentially defining what it is to be a Dwarf. On top of that, there are three distinct ‘types’ of cultures that have their influence on a Dwarf: ancient culture, regional culture, and modern culture.
The balance between the three is the main source of disputes and arguments among Dwarves. Nowadays, every individual Dwarf has their own feelings and opinions on these three cultures that influence them. Some choose to weigh on specific aspects quite heavily, whereas some disregard many historical or geographical ties to a specific mindset.
Ancient Culture[edit | edit source]
Also known as "clan culture", these now ancient traditions stem from the early days of Dwarven history when clans were a Dwarf’s lifeline. Dwarves were born in small, isolated communities, known as clans and the majority of them held loyalty to that clan for their entire life. These clans settled in what is now called a ‘holding’; a small primary settlement, with an accompanying fortress or hold.
The power of a clan was determined by the holding’s collective wealth. The more wealth and opulence the holding had, the more powerful the clan was presumed to be in order to maintain control over that wealth. Along with this, any items owned that were of particularly high quality were also seen as a good sign of that clan's wealth. High respect for artisanship has remained to this very day.
In addition, each clan was usually led by an elder, known as a yanka in Old Dwarven. These wise, respected Dwarves commanded their holding as they saw fit, with their authority rarely questioned. The role of clan elder was not passed down through a bloodline, nor strangely based on age; it was merely seen as who was considered the wisest among them.
Clans usually took their name from a variety of sources: an ancestor of great renown or named for a particular trait that the members had, or perhaps for their professions or homes. Hardheads, Coldpeaks, Steeleye, and Firebeards are just a handful of examples.
Clans are now the exception rather than the rule. The small, close-knit, often secretive groups have been replaced by holdings that wish to work together in openness. Dwarves who identify with their clan more than their holding are sometimes seen as strange folk, but it is rare for anyone to come to blows over this nowadays.
Regional Culture[edit | edit source]
Looking at a map, there may not be much difference between neighboring regions, towns, or even villages, but if you are an inhabitant it is a much different story.
Every Dwarf must come from a place. That place will always have something that differentiates it from other places, in either a good or bad way. Some places may look down on certain professions, or places others in high esteem. Some places may have their fashion affected by the weather or the terrain. Villages will have strange festivals based on historical events, whilst others may have been the site of bloody battles which still hold powerful emotions to the present day.
All of these things may have an effect on the Dwarves who live there. It could be something as relatively harmless as being pressured into a specific profession at an early age, wearing certain types of clothes during specific times of the year, or having specific feelings for Dwarves from another village, town or region. It is up to the individual Dwarf whether or not they take these things to heart.
Modern Culture[edit | edit source]
As the multitude of clan-held regions began to merge into larger ones, the importance of the clan itself lessened greatly. holdings are no longer small, isolated groups in fierce competition with one another, but instead, they are now small parts of a greater whole; the Dwarves people of Bormar.
Following the Great Census of 800 BY, it was found that roughly a fifth of all Dwarves there do not have any direct clan associated at all. The majority of Dwarves associate more strongly with their holding than with whatever clan they may have ties to.
The yanka system of yore has also been replaced by Lords and Ladies chosen by the all-powerful First House, based on the wealthiest occupants of a holding.
Whilst many things have changed after the formation of Bormar, many things have stayed the same, or been influenced by historic trends. The existence of the wealth-based Lords and Ladies stems from the view that communal wealth determines power. It is not uncommon for Dwarves within a community to rally behind their preferred candidate by bequeathing them vast sums of money to boost their personal wealth, therefore pushing them into the position of nobility.
Religion[edit | edit source]
Dwarves, by and large, are not particularly religious in the traditional manner, rarely involving ceremonies, gatherings, or incorporating it into their daily lives. Strangely, this isn’t a recent development, with historical records indicating that at no point was religion a major factor in Dwarven culture.
However, Dwarves are not broadly atheistic. Many Dwarves ascribe to a more mystical, or spiritual, set of beliefs. The most common ‘religion’ in Bormar involves a pantheon of deities, each of whom represents a specific profession and each of which has a set of actions that are believed to be ‘lucky’ or ‘unlucky’ pertaining to those professions.
Dwarven religion therefore mostly revolves around doing what is considered lucky and avoiding whatever is considered unlucky.
These Gods are rarely named, nor are they usually specified as Dwarven. They are simply believed to be the greatest of their professions. Most discussions regarding this are usually only discussed amongst religious scholars.
In many holdings, some form of shrine will be found, in rare cases a church. Most shrines are devoted to a single God, often one who would have an understandable sway over the holding in question; the Mining God over a mining Outpost, for example.
Many non-Dwarves misunderstand that though Dwarves do not exercise great visible piety, this does not mean they are indifferent to religion. Simply put, the lives of the Gods do not revolve around mortals, so the lives of mortals should not revolve around the Gods.
Throughout Bormar many smaller sects of more fervent believers exist. Most often extoll the virtues of their particular God, with mercifully few cults gaining any real power or enacting violence upon ‘non-believers’.
Recently, the Church Of All has gained tremendous traction within Bormar. Promoting a new view of the existing pantheon, including naming the Gods, they have become immensely popular within the last few decades or so.
Language[edit | edit source]
Dwarven language is, generally, split into two categories: Old Dwarven and Common Dwarven, also known as Common.
Old Dwarven is an archaic script, from the earliest days of the Dwarves. Less of a singular language, it is generally believed to be a mishmash of dozens of regional dialects that formed and dissolved over the early years of Dwarven settlement in the Mar Mountains. Only scholars that specifically study this language would know the names used to refer to any specific dialects, with even those names being hotly debated. The vast majority of Old Dwarven has been lost to time, with only a handful of words surviving to the modern day; words like yanka, meaning elder, and molir, meaning militia. Any new discoveries of Old Dwarven are usually highly prized by the scholarly communities that study it.
Dwarven, or simply Common, is the current language spoken throughout all of Bormar and indeed, throughout the world. Due to Bormar’s prominence and power, it is rare to find a society that has no exposure to the language. Even many Human-populated areas speak a clipped form of Dwarven rather than their ancestral languages. It could be said that Bormar’s spreading of Common throughout the world as a lingual bridge uniting the world is its most important feat. Common is taught throughout the Mar Mountains, with other specialist languages being taught at specific halls of learning. Scholars that specifically study other languages will usually be able to hold a rudimentary conversation in Grolka, though these cases are the exception, not the rule.