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Dwarfs

male dwarf female dwarf
T

he dwarves are an old race. According to history, they were the third race who developed their own writing. In the very beginning it was based on pictograms – a simple and easy way to show the true meaning of the word. It was mainly used to record the history of the dwarfs and for religious purposes, thus being of a more sacrosanct nature and having no real value for daily life. But over the centuries these pictograms developed and became more simple, corresponding with the need of a script used for daily life. In the end the old dwarfish writing developed into a rune like writing; only few are still able to read or write the old pictograms nowadays.

A

dwarf is smaller than a human, but taller than a halfling. Dwarves have very broad shoulders and strong, stable bones. In their legends, Irmorom, the God of Craftsmanship, carved the first dwarves out of a rock that was given to him by Ushara, the Goddess of Earth.

In early times, most dwarven clans dwelled in Mountain Valleys, where they discovered strange rocks that started to burn when exposed to fire – coal. They started to dig for it, and traded the coal with other races. Deeper and deeper into the earth dug the tunnels to get access to coal and in this process they found other resources : iron ore, jewels and even gold. Iron tools replaced the old copper ones after many years.

T

hen one day many orc tribes were forced to seek new hunting grounds. They travelled into dwarven territory. Several clashes and confrontations arose from this and the dwarven clans, one by one, decided to retreat into their mines and caves and to take their animals and resources with them. They easily fought off the orcs with their advanced weaponry and armour and went into the prepared and hidden mines during the winter. The orcs, who scouted the valleys in springtime, found abandoned cottages and villages without anything useful left. They thought that the dwarves, who had been very strong enemies, must have suffered from a mighty curse and vanished. These rumours were aided as every orcish scout who approached the mines or found an entrance by accident or superior scouting skills, vanished and was never seen again.

T

he orcish tribes left the "cursed valleys" and moved on to find new hunting grounds while the dwarves dug deeper and deeper into the mountains and discovered beautiful caves. They decided to stay in their caves and mines and built great halls and vast underground cities. Few dwarven houses were left on the surface, mainly for trading purposes or for farming natural resources.

Dwarves are not very interested in magic, except for Rune crafting magic. They prefer good handwork, and fine crafted items. They love the shine of gold and the cold fire of beautiful jewels. They love the taste of a good dwarven, strong beer. Their towns and caves are lightened by different light sources: Huge, thick glass–structures that direct light from the mountains deep into their halls, torches and lamps, as well as different gemstones, crafted with strong runes to produce light and warmth where they are needed. The dwarven counterpart to a mage is a "Rune Crafter" or "Rune Master" – they carve magic instead of speaking it. This is a "safer", but less spontaneous form of magic, since deleted failures do not hurt the crafter, but only the item it was carved on.

T

he crafting of runes has different effects, triggered by actions, words, movements or thoughts. These items recharge with a certain, slow rate or can be "reloaded" by a rune crafter or mage. Some of the weaker effects work all the time without necessity to be "recharged", others draw their magical energies from the owner himself. These rune–magic has more practical than aggressive use.

Dwarven Society is organized in clans. A dwarven city can consist of one or two bigger or several smaller clans. The leader of a dwarven clan is called "Clan Lord" or "High Lord", the leader of a dwarven town is called "King". Every Clan in a dwarven City has a Great hall, where the Clan Lord resides. The family buildings or caves, called "Family Halls" surround the Great Hall. Only the king's family quarters are connected with the Great Hall. Most dwarven clan halls have a separate shrine for the clan god. In most cases this would be Irmorom but also Ushara is highly praised, sometimes even Cherga is worshipped.

E

very dwarven clan consists of several families. A typical dwarven family consists of a man, his wife, and the children. A common number of children is two to four. When getting married, a new family is founded and they choose a new family name. This is the reason why dwarves call their children "Son of... and ... Son of... etc.", female dwarfs take their name from their mothers and grandmothers. The actual, self–chosen family name is not mentioned and never told to strangers. This is done to prevent curses against the family.

D

warven cemeteries lie underground, too. Buried deep beneath the surface, they are located outside, far below the towns of the living. Every Dwarven family has a family tomb. Most dwarven tombs are double graves, for the man and the woman. Every child that dies before getting married is buried in the tomb of its parents. Dwarves do not enclose golden gifts into the graves. Gold is an element of the living and has nothing to do with the dead. Dwarven grave gifts are often beautiful stone or jewel coins representing the good things a dwarf did in his life. At a special place in front of the grave the story of the dead one's life is carved and sometimes his whole life story. Dwarven warriors are often buried in stone armour with stone weapons and often a stone mask is placed upon their face – their spirits may protect the clan in times of great trouble.

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