Arragoth The Spine Longer, ~200-300 years Omnivores Many Short and stocky Beards, broad and bulky Artisan and smith guilds, Mercenary bands Dwarvish and Common Dwarf Blacksmith
The Dwarves – or Arragoth, as they are known in their native tongue – are a short stocky folk of great reputation. The species has been a fixture throughout many lands and ages, living both in merchant cities and fortresses buried deep in the mountains. They are generally an accepting, if gruff people, renowned as great smiths and artisans as well as warriors.
It is often said that Dwarves are either your best friend or your greatest enemy, and one should never underestimate one of their kind. For many people, Dwarves are a familiar sight, and it is not uncommon to stumble upon a Dwarven hold in any given corner of Arethil. These varying tribes are all different in attitude and outlook, but generally, they are familiar to most.
LanguageThe Dwarven language is often described by other species as sounding like "Rocks grinding against one another and then being smashed with a hammer.". It is not guttural or throaty like the language of the Orcs or Trolls, but simply more rough and less refined. There is a certain baritone that comes to the voice when one speaks it, creating an almost rumbling sensation. Some find the sound pleasing, though others are incredibly offended by the noise of Dwarvish.
Researchers have often attempted to figure out just what the origins of the language in fact are, but when questioned most Dwarves simply shrug and don't worry about it.
Thankfully many of the Dwarven runes are easily translated into other languages and the vocal cords required to speak it are very similar to that of the Common tongue of humanity. Most Dwarves speak Common, and in some of their fortresses, it is even more common than their own language.
Due to the prevalence of Dwarves all over the world, some cities have naturally developed their own version of Dwarvish. This often leads to confusion when two Dwarves from far-flung communities meet with one another, and it is not an uncommon sight for them to end up fighting simply because they aren't speaking the same language.
AppearanceGenerally speaking, Dwarves are often described as short, stocky, and gruff. This does not hold true for all of the species, of course, there are skinny dwarves just like there are skinny humans, but generally speaking dwarves are easy enough to pick out of a line up with their taller cousins.
Just as with Humanity, the details of Dwarven appearance are about as varying as possible. Within the different Holds across the world, there are dozens of genetic variances that change the appearance of all Dwarves from family to family. There are blondes, brunettes, redheads, and every other natural color that exists. They rarely dye their hair, and generally, stick to a more natural look that most other species.
Beards are of course common among Dwarves, often stylized and shaped in different ways as a way of showing age. Tattoos are also incredibly common among all walks of Dwarven life, showing great accomplishment, family lineage, and everything else one can think of.
In general, Dwarves are easy enough to recognize due to their short and stocky nature as well as their general dress and tendency to be loud. Despite their smaller stature, however, most Dwarves carry themselves with an air of authority and self-assurance, making them stand out in most crowds in an odd sort of way.
HabitatThough Dwarves have spread all around the world and in essence have formed into many different kinds of sub-cultures, most of the species still live in the same way their ancestors have for the past few millennia.
Most commonly Dwarves can be found within their underground fortresses, buried deep beneath various mountain ranges. These massive cities reach into the depths of the mountains and are often intricately designed and built. Surprisingly most of these cities are open, constructed with large caverns and open spaces that give them a sense of breadth and size.
This doesn't ring true for all Dwarven structures, but most of them follow the same sort of architecture.
The few Dwarves that live above ground generally tend to do so in carefully designed forts. These structures are most often rimmed with a wall of wood or stone and are carefully composed defensive positions.
Dwarven architecture is very solid and carefully engineered. Unlike with some other species, there are no ramshackle or makeshift buildings in Dwarven Society. When something is built by the Dwarves it is done to withstand the ages, structured so that everything will last as long as possible and remain as tidy as could be. This is a reflection of Dwarven nature.
TraitsThere are three things Dwarves are known for around the world. These qualities run through most segments of Dwarven society, even if they are detached from the main populace.
The first of these qualities is the Dwarven eye for fine crafts. Over the centuries Dwarves have produced some of the greatest craftsmen (and women) ever known. They are fantastic smiths, great jewelers, and even artists. it seems that Dwarves naturally have an eye for creation, and this is something they take great pride in. Of course, this has also marked them out among other species and often causes jealousy.
Dwarves are also known for their rather combative nature. As a whole, the species tends to have a rather aggressive stance towards outsiders. Though mostly they are initially welcoming, getting on the bad side of a Dwarf means you're pretty much there permanently. They are an incredibly protective people and will stop at almost nothing to protect what is theirs.
These qualities are also joined by the fact that in general Dwarves are less magically inclined than other species. Though Dwarven mages do exist, and some are even extremely powerful, by and large, the species produces fewer mages than others. This has created an odd sort of complex within the Dwarves themselves, and generally, the species takes a great amount of pride in not having 'magic shortcuts'.
Because Dwarves are one of the more prolific species in the world these qualities and quirks don't always hold true for every sub-race that can be found.
BackgroundThroughout history, the Dwarves have been one of the constant few. Though they have not taken part in every war or every battle, they have always played a role, one way or another.
The Dwarves have been a fixture in the world's ongoings as long as anyone can remember. It doesn't matter if it was when they brought their own armies to bear, acting as a place for refugees to flee to, or simply supplying the sides of the conflict with weapons. In most events of the world, the Dwarves at the very least played a small part.
Many times the world has fallen into conflict, and many times the Dwarves have answered the call. They have fought on the side of the Elves and Humans, a bulwark against both evil and what many would deem as good. Always the Dwarves have ultimately served themselves, doing what is best for their people and attempting to grow their Holds around the world.
Almost everyone around the world knows the Dwarves, and it is not uncommon to see them throughout the world as mercenaries, warriors, merchants, and sometimes even slaves. They are an extremely prolific race, and their cities dot every corner of the known earth.
There are many races among the dwarves themselves, different sects and tribes that long ago split off from their kin. These different sub-races can be found almost as commonly as their cousins, with each one having different culture, language, and sometimes even appearance.
In general, the Dwarves are held in high regard by most species, and they are welcomed in cities across the world as friends or at the very least trustworthy beings.
Lore"We fought a lot of wars back then.
Truth be told I'm not entirely sure what for anymore. It seemed like a right good idea at the time, everyone was on board and even... even the Elves seemed to catch the fever of it all. We wanted to fight, we wanted to go to war and clash in battle against this pesky little greenlings. It seemed like a good idea at the time, seemed like we couldn't lose.
We were wrong.
The battles weren't quick, the war wasn't short. Everything was a slog that seemed to last for days on end. Every time we met them on the field it was a slaughter for both sides. Thousands dead for not even an inch of ground gained.
At night things would settle, we would think we were safe, but the truth of it? The truth of it was we were never safe. They just kept coming. From below the mountains, from the forests, they were like a swarm.
By the end, all we could do was stand as a bastion against them, hold our shields together and hope the bastards didn't break through. I don't know how long we lasted, months... maybe years. It seemed like I spent half my life in those lines. It became less about the territory we gained, less about what we could have in the end... but more what would survive.
It seemed like every time we tried to strike back they would just crop up somewhere else. Every camp we destroyed, every city we retook they just shrugged it off.
To this day I don't know how they did it, where their numbers came from. People call us prolific, but those damned things? They're everywhere. Can't believe how many of them we killed, how many would litter the field and how many would come at us the next day.
It almost seems funny now, seeing them in the markets sometimes."
- Nagith, Son of Burik; On the Orc Wars
The Dwarves are known the world over for their stoutness and penchant for defending their own. For most people, they are a constant, something that can be found and counted on even in the most distant corner of the world. Most people will know where at least one Dwarf Hold is, and many have either visited or even lived in one for a period of time.
For governments around the world, the Dwarves are an excellent source of arms, armor, and finely crafted civilian goods. Most species make an effort to befriend the Dwarves, some going to great lengths to forge true alliances.
Humans and Dwarves seem to get along the most, and it is not uncommon for the two species to be seen in one another's city at an almost constant rate.
Of course, throughout the years, the Dwarves have been involved in a number of Wars and Campaigns. They are known as great warriors and even better defensive tacticians. For most races in the world, there is a certain amount of respect, though of course there are those who absolutely despise them as well.
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