Dwarf means "Stone person" in Dwarven, but the world has long since taken it to mean "Short person" instead. Still, Dwarves are what they are. The dark forgemasters of Scything Crag, long separated from their homelands in the west, they delve ever deeper in the Bones of the Lost Ones, and make cunning artifices to survive on the frontier.
The story of Dwarves begins in Albion, also called Tir'Loach, an island far to the west of Temir. After long bouts of conflict with the savage Lirasi elves in the Age of Stone, they sealed a compact and make their home on an island further west, in the city of Krakkarakakkaraz. But Dwarves have a long history, and they go where the digging is, so the continent is dotted with Dwarven cities, often long since destroyed or abandoned as mines run dry or dig too deep.
Dwarves in Temir dwell in Kelunyse, their great city beneath Scything Crag. Their contact with other Dwarven nations is minimal, preferring fire and steel to gold and jewels. They are warriors and warlocks, singers and thieves, often preferring the weight and protection of armor to layered enchantments and robes. There are a handful of Dwarven families in the Cities by the Sea, often tracing their history back to being left behind after one of the many conflicts between Scything Crag and the Cities.
Age of Dragons
Their city of Chakkanhatgiphong in the north destroyed by a great dragon, Dwarven refugees marched south and found themselves as one of the first peoples in Scything Crag. Putting their roots into the earth, they began forging mighty dragon slaying spears. The called their new home Kelunyse, after the thane who led them there, and who would become their first High Queen. From their unassailable position in the Crag, Dwarf-forged weapons became the backbone of resistance to draconic rule.
Age of Prophecy
In the Broken Oath War, Dwarves took to the sea, sending the first of several steel warships downriver in pieces to be assembled on the coast. After the war, the surviving vessels took to piracy, joining the Rilador, their crews making up the first Dwarven communities in Volos. Their army also marched to fight the Plague of the Hungry Dead, joining with the Frontier Rangers and other forces in the Shadesh Waste.
Age of Peace
The latest Age finds the Dwarves at the height of their strength. Benefiting from an early alliance with the Shadow Elves, their forges run hot with strange new magics. The High Queen has been sending expeditions to the Demon Kingdom, and United Freeholds beyond, with offers of truce and trade for Dwarven steel.
Dwarven culture is about family, duty, and circles. From a young age, Dwarves are given duty, a function within their clan. As they mature their duties increase, and their relationships are mapped in circles, where no single point is weakest. Their comrades, their family, their clan, their people, a Dwarf can draw their relationships, and map their intersections. Because of this, their duty is always clear, and their life is simplified. Dwarves craving messiness and complexity often find their way outside of Kelunyse, in raiding parties or trade expeditions.
The Dwarves of Kelunyse have seven great clans who make up the Council of Thanes. The thanes, in turn, appoint a High Monarch to rule and stand among the Four Lords of Scything Crag. Each great clan is itself made up of smaller clans, houses, and families, and they have different ways of deciding their Thane. Clan Zyce for instance, always decides in trial by combat, while Clan Rhisea insists on sending their second-best spellcaster. While interclan conflict occurs, the convention is to always present a united front to outsiders. Unity is paramount in the cutthroat realm of Scything Crag.
Dwarves mix magic and metal in several different fashions. Families will often send aspiring wizards to Clan Rhisea to train, or even outside to the Imaskari mages in the Crag. Clan Nithis, the deep delvers, have few wizards, but powerful warlocks, wringing mystical power from other planes. Dwarven magic is magic of purpose, and is wrought in the same ways as metal, with intention and care. Their mages tend toward the schools of Transmutation and Evocation, and Dwarven sorcerers tend to be dragon-blooded, a hereditary reminder of Kelunyse's beginnings.
Dwarven religion reveres the gods of the Three Thrones, presenting them as three sisters. Arman is the eldest, the Thane of Thanes, who keeps law and duty of all Dwarves. Nurzhan is the middle sister, the Black Blade, whose ruthlessness and power keep the Dwarven people in motion. Finally Serik is the youngest sister, the Bright Forge, who reminds Dwarves that they cannot be defined solely by ambition and survival. Festivals to each god are common with Arman commanding dramatic shows of respect for each other, Nurzhan requiring craft and vigils, and Serik the creation of art and poetry.
Dwarves care little for the lesser gods, though it's not uncommon to see small shrines to them, or have them acknowledged as the patron deity of a particular clan. Clan Nithis honours Erzulie, the Smiling Witch, for instance. And Clan Tyria's armor all boasts representations of Anargul, who they call the Hungry Earth.
Dwarven names are representations of their various circles of connection. It's common for them to have a given name, a family name, a clan name, and their great clan, and to layer their introductions according to who they're talking with. So a Dwarf might be "Marte Zykinos, of Clan Susira, in Clan Rhisea" to other Dwarves, "Marte Zykinos of Clan Rhisea" or even "Marte Rhisea" to other Scything Crag peoples, and "Marte" to outsiders. Families of Dwarves long separated from Kelunyse have left behind the Great Clans, and often opt for Common translations of their surnames, like Axebeard or Beardaxe.
Sample Given Names: Achyde, Atikos, Caza, Etora, Galea, Kullos, Kydea, Nora, Satia, Styva, Teris, Zerros
Sample Surnames: Areleda, Denerezos, Geryma, Kasokis, Lenoris, Menykos, Quasatos, Rykepe, Sidarea, Verametia, Voduhe, Zykinos
As with most races with subraces, we use those subraces to express distinctions between individuals, rather than as a specific state or nation made up of that race. It's not uncommon for a family to have both Mountain Dwarves and Duergar, for example.
- Duergar, Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes p.81
- Hill Dwarves, Player's Handbook p.20
- Mountain Dwarves, Player's Handbook p.20