The Dragon Slayers
n. Dwarf (Dwerrow, Naugrim). A short, sturdy creature fond of drink and industry.
’I’d wager a single blade from the forge of my fathers against a score of those things you call “swords”. Next time, spend a hundred years in the heart of the mountain before thinking you can sell me your rubbish.’ – Vasilin Forgemaster
It is hard to say whether the Dwarven people are a on a centuries-long decline or whether this is how they have always been. The mountainhomes are at best private, and at their worst clannish and distrustful of outsiders – and they have until recently rarely had cause to leave their halls deep beneath the Skyreach mountains.
To a typical dwarf it is an alien experience indeed not to be surrounded at all times by people – their upbringings in the confines of the mountains force everyone to work, eat, drink, and sleep together. A dwarven mountainhome in full health is a veritable hive of noise and activity. Perhaps it is this tendency towards companionship that has found dwarves at home in the hearts of human cities – or perhaps it is their love of wealth.
Dwarven society is almost by necessity heavily guarded and governed by tradition and history. Dwarven law is notoriously complex, as is Dwarven geneology. As there are traditions for craftsmanship and patterns for tools, there are traditions for almost every aspect of one’s life and patterns for how one lives it. Though not all Dwarves (especially those who leave the mountains) are so steeped in this tradition, a regimented life and a respect for the Traditsia is at the very core of their society.
To the majority of outsiders the actual workings of dwarf society are mostly a mystery, as are the dwarves themselves. Most dwarves rarely leave the comfort of the mountainhomes unless they have a purpose, and it is rare to see dwarves in human lands except in the cities or on business.
With the peace forged by King Sargon giving stability to the human lands for the first time in centuries, it is becoming more and more common to see Dwarves in human cities, and even Dwarf Quarters where whole areas are dominated by dwarves and those who cater to them. There they remain somewhat insular and the old traditions hold strong, but their craftsdwarfship is in high demand both for architecture and other crafted goods and thus it is easy for a hard-working dwarf to make a good living.
Stereotypically these City Dwarves are very rich (though not usually ostentatious), law-abiding, and hard working. These traits normally endear them to human authorities who ensure that they are generally respected and protected – there is often an undercurrent of racism against dwarves especially from those whose livelihoods and crafts have been supplanted and from those who are jealous of their wealth.