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Dwarf

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Dwarves are short humanoids of robust build. They are renowned throughout the Earth as master artisans, expert technologists, brilliant engineers and scientists, and unrivalled builders. The calendar currently in use throughout the world was introduced by the dwarves, and the common tongue spoken across the globe descends from old dwarven.

Physical characteristics and physiologyEdit

Most dwarves are of heavy build; they are strong, sturdy people with a low centre of mass, which makes them excellent wrestlers and fighters at the cost of agility. Their low stature, ranging from about 1.25 metres to around 1.50 metres, makes them look even tougher.

Dwarf miner

A dwarf miner

Male dwarves are rarely seen without a long, intricately braided beard; a beard is a sign of pride and honour for a dwarf, so they take excellent care of it. The hair of dwarves of both genders is usually also tied into braids; in males, the braid design of the hair and that of the beard often match, although some males prefer to shave their heads. Black hair is uncommon among dwarves; most have a hair colour ranging from bright red to dark brown, although blondes are also fairly common.

A dwarf's appearance generally does not belie their physiology. Dwarves have slow metabolisms and powerful immune systems, and this combination allows them not only to outdrink any member of any other sentient species (something dwarves are fond of boasting about), but also to withstand high doses of powerful poisons without much more than a brief stomachache. Their slow metabolism also enables them to live as long as 150 years; there are records of dwarves reaching 200 years of age, though these are very rare.

Personality traitsEdit

Dwarves have much to be proud about, and they are indeed a very proud species. A dwarf will rarely admit that they are wrong or that someone else is better, especially to someone of another species. Although they will rarely discriminate someone based on species and all citizens of Sonndalin enjoy equal rights, dwarves do consider themselves somewhat superior to the other sentient species. However, a dwarf is quick to recognise skill and worthiness in someone and will treat a particularly impressive character as one of their own.

Most dwarves hold fast to their traditions, some of which date back to the early Second Age. An exception is religion, but only because most of the Elder Gods achieved immortality at the centre of dwarven civilisation. Family, honour, bravery and strength are among the highest of dwarven values, although other values are also greatly appreciated by dwarves: smiths take great pride in their work, as do artisans, alchemists, engineers and miners. Dwarven heroes are fondly remembered, and most of them have a day of the year in which they are honoured in grand feasts that echo throughout even the largest of cities.

The same collective memory that serves to honour long-dead heroes makes dwarves incredibly grudging. A dwarf may slay another person because of an ancient debt involving their ancestors, and alliances --as well as enmities-- may last many centuries.

Dwarf soldier

Where one sees axes and beer, one knows dwarves are near

Dwarves' ability in battle is matched only by their reverence for it. While few dwarves will intentionally pick a fight with someone else without good cause and Sonndalin has traditionally been a peaceful nation, those battles that have been fought are recounted time after time in taverns and bedrooms, often with great detail. A dwarven victory is cause for celebration, and even a defeat is not met with too much sorrow if the dwarves involved fought bravely and honourably. Wartime heroes are among the most important, and many generals have nicknames referencing an impressive deed or a worthy attribute.
Dwarves drinking

Dwarves can drink more than any other species, but they do eventually get drunk

Dwarves enjoy few things as much as they enjoy drinking. They have a good nose and a good taste for high-quality alcohol and produce some of the best beer in the world. Drinking matches, and even drinking tournaments in larger cities, are a common sport among dwarves, and a single match can go on for over half a day. An adult dwarf is generally able to consume several litres of ale or beer without showing the slightest sign of drunkenness. That said, a drunk dwarf is among the noisiest things on the face of the planet.

Dwarven craftEdit

Dwarf smith

Dwarven blacksmiths are the best in the world

Dwarven metallurgy, architecture and engineering are unsurpassed globally. They introduced alchemy, steam technology and electricity to the world, and they continue to expand the boundaries of science and technology daily. More so than other species, dwarves are innovative and creative. All sorts of machines populate large dwarven cities. Most of these are built to aid in physical work, especially mining, but there are exceptions.

Dwarves are extremely proud of their handiwork, and they have cause to be. Their weapons and armour are used throughout the world by warriors of all species, their machines have been adopted by almost all nations --notable exceptions are the lleimillan nations-- and aid all sorts of people in their daily lives, and their cities are among the oldest and best-preserved in the world owing to their excellent architecture. Particularly important are their airships, especially since the fifth century of the Third Age, when the Earth became plagued by undead due to the imprisonment of the gods Zahar and Vekumm.

Dwarves enjoy carving intricate geometric patterns and representative text in old dwarven into their creations. Shields, weapons, columns, archways and machines are often covered in straight lines and sharp angles which indicate the origins, intentions or techniques of the dwarves responsible for their creation. These are complemented by carefully polished gemstones embedded with mathematical precision into items of dwarven make.

Because Sonndalin owns vast deposits of all sorts of precious metals and minerals, dwarves are liberal in their use. As a result, the composition alone of dwarven creations makes them too expensive for many people to afford. However, their technology and methods have been widely imitated and studied by members of other species.

SonndalinEdit

Dwarf mountaineer

Dwarves feel at home in mountainous terrain

Dwarves make their home in the mountains. Their strong clan and family ties and deeply rooted traditions have caused them to forge a single enormous nation, as opposed to several smaller ones. This nation is called Sonndalin, which is old dwarven for "Dwarfhome", and its heart lies at the centre of the Starkerberge, the largest mountain range in the world. Each dwarven city and town is carved into one or more mountains, with the exception of very new cities founded by non-dwarves in Sonndalin territory.

Although Sonndalin has expanded to every continent, all of its large, important cities are in Sazandora, where the dwarves began. The kingdom's capital is Midian, today an enormous trade hub and government centre.

MidianEdit

Midian

Entrance to Midian

The great city of Midian was the first dwarven city and remains the most important one by far. It lies within several adjacent mountains at the centre of the Starkerberge and, like all other dwarven settlements within mountains, it is illuminated by ghostly, dimly glowing veils of auroralike arcana.

The city is divided into several districts with varying architectural styles. These are the Merchants' District, the Soldiers' District, the Alchemists' District and the Nobles' District. Areas not within any district are the entrance halls, the Great Forge (previously known as the Forge of the All-Father) and the mines.

The entrance hallsEdit

Midian bridge

Midian's bridges give the city an imposing view

Past the airship platform and the grand archway erected at the mouth of the city, a great stone bridge allows access to the heart of the Merchants' District. This bridge, as well as the other bridges that connect Midian's regions to each other, is decorated with enormous and beautiful dragon statues.

The entrance faces the west, so at dusk the setting sun casts its golden light into the city, temporarily competing with the auroralike artificial lighting the city enjoys at all times.

The Merchants' DistrictEdit

The Merchants' District is the busiest part of Midian. Its name is a consequence of the vast amount of merchants of all kinds who inhabit and have their shops in this district, but it is also home to most non-academic, non-noble people, including the military. It is a noisy part of town, full of inns and workshops and stores, and here one can find almost every non-alchemical ware that can be purchased from a dwarf.

Bank vault

Midian's vaults are heavily guarded by some of Sonndalin's best warriors

The Merchants' District is also where Sonndalin's great vaults are to be found. Hidden and heavily guarded, these vaults contain the dwarves' magnificent treasure.

The Soldiers' DistrictEdit

Dwarf captain

High-ranking members of the military, such as this captain, wear gold and silver emblems and artwork on their equipment

The Soldiers' District holds the city barracks and military training grounds. The best armour and weapons from the fine blacksmiths working in the Merchants' District arrive here and are put to good use. Dwarves favour axes and hammers in combat, and most wear heavy armour. Alchemically enhanced military equipment is reserved for generals and for warriors of any rank who have performed impressive deeds in combat.
Dwarf general

All generals of Sonndalin wear armour and wield weapons imbued with arcane power

Even when Sonndalin is not at war with another nation, its military keeps the peace and enforces the law. Particularly troublesome regions of the world, such as the mining colonies in the lleimillan mountains, enjoy the presence of large armies at a time in case the lleimillan nations create conflict.

The Alchemists' DistrictEdit

The Alchemists' District is the academic part of Midian. Located in the southern part of town, this is where the University of Midian, the first university in the world, was established in the early Third Age. It is also here that the city's arcanists make their homes and set up shop. They enhance mundane objects with arcane energy to increase their abilities, and they also build the machines dwarves are famous for.

Dwarf arcanist

Arcanists twist and shape the arcane threads that permeate the world

Not all inhabitants of the Alchemists' District are arcanists. Steamsmiths, electrical engineers and physicists also reside in this part of town. They all hold much different kinds of conversations in taverns than the ones which can be heard in other parts of town, making the ambience here unique.

Dwarf government officer

Tax collectors are the lowest-ranking nobles in Sonndalin

The Nobles' DistrictEdit

The Nobles' District can be found at the eastern edge of Midian, opposite the entrance. It houses Sonndalin's throne room and government offices.

The Great ForgeEdit

Throughout the Second Age, the central figure in dwarven religion was the All-Father, the supposed god who had created the world and then forged the dwarves from the very stone that constitutes the world's foundations. According to religious accounts, the All-Father had worked from his forge within a great mountain. What was then known as the Forge of the All-Father is a massive iron anvil erected before a small magma pit around which Midian was built by Thorazil the Great, the last dwarf chieftain and the first king of Sonndalin. The Forge was a sacred place for the dwarves, and entry to it was reserved for a select few on very special occasions; decades could pass without the Forge being visited by a single soul.

Forge of the All-Father

The forge at the heart of Midian was the site of a battle in which the fate of the Earth was decided

When the elf Elendir Falaron and the four individuals who would later become the Elder Gods fought a short but terrible battle here, parts of the Forge were destroyed, much to the dwarves' shock; this contradicted religious doctrine, which stated that, as the last remaining connection to the All-Father on Earth, it was indestructible. More importantly, the rise of visible, tangible gods who interacted with the world shattered the foundations of dwarven religion. The old teachings were cast aside almost instantly, replaced by new teachings which are almost as wild and mistaken as the old ones.

Since then, the Forge has been renamed to the Great Forge and has become a ceremonial site visited every year on the anniversary of the great battle between the Elder Gods and the Aesilai.

Mining construct

Mining constructs have been used in Sonndalin for centuries

The minesEdit

Midian, like all other large dwarven cities, is constantly growing. Aided by complex constructs, miners dig deeper and deeper into the Earth in search of stronger, rarer materials. The mines are a dangerous part of town, and many miners have lost their lives in them, even after the advent of sentient constructs.

SunderEdit

Sunder is a large city in southern Sonndalin, near the edge of the Starkerberge. As the southernmost city large enough to have an airship platform, it is an important hub for people travelling between Sonndalin and Neresse. It is also one end of the largest of the Sonndalin-Neresse trade routes, the other end of this route being the capital of Neresse, Vulantia.

Ermenberg

Ermenberg is known for the many renowned mechanical engineers who hail from it

ErmenbergEdit

Ermenberg is a large city in eastern Sonndalin. It is famous for being Mordun's place of birth, and it is one of Sonndalin's most important mechanical engineering centres.

Notable dwarvesEdit

Dungeons & Dragons race equivalenceEdit

  • Equivalent race: dwarf
  • Ability scores:
    • +2 constitution
    • +2 strength or wisdom
  • Size: medium
  • Speed: 5 squares
  • Vision: low-light
  • Languages:
    • common
    • dwarven
  • Skill bonuses:
    • ​+2 dungeoneering
    • +2 endurance
  • Racial traits:
    • ​Cast-iron stomach: +5 bonus to saving throws against poison.
    • Dwarven resilience: Dwarves can use their second wind as a minor action.
    • Dwarven weapon proficiency: Dwarves have proficiency with one of the following weapon groups:
      • throwing hammer, warhammer
      • handaxe, battleaxe
      • war pick, maul
    • Encumbered speed: Dwarves are not slowed by heavy armour or a heavy load.
    • Stand your ground: Dwarves can reduce any forced movement by 1 square. Also, whenever an attack would knock a dwarf prone, the dwarf can make an immediate saving throw to avoid falling prone.

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