“I’ll tell you what I like about them. Every dwarf has a place, a purpose, a profession. When it’s to be soldier, you cannot deny their work ethic. Make a phalanx of Dwarven Defenders and the enemy will find that they’re far stronger than any castle wall, far deadlier too.” – General Donatorix on Dwarves
Dwarves are known for their hard work, skill with warfare, and ability to withstand physical and magical punishment. Next to Humans, Dwarves have been the most influential in increasing the prestige of the Archaîan Republic and frequently are leaders in politics.
Dwarves are a short and stocky race, and stand about a foot shorter than most humans, with wide, compact bodies that account for their burly appearance. Male and female dwarves pride themselves
on the length of their hair, and men often decorate their beards with a variety of clasps and intricate braids. A cleanshaven male dwarf is a sure sign of madness, or worse—no one familiar with their race trusts a beardless dwarf.
In the beginning, the goddess Didice breathed life into her constructs and created the dwarves – so goes the belief. She gave her son, Moradin, rule over the dwarves along with two tablets each with a commandment to be obeyed if the dwarven people were to keep the almighty goddess’ graces. Commandment I decreed that the monarchy was a sacred institution. Loyalty to your clan, but absolute loyalty to your king, the patriarch of all clans. If the monarchy ever fell, or the bloodline ever faltered, then the dwarves would fall with it. Commandment II decreed that the dwarves will never let an enemy set foot within his hallowed grounds, and that likewise, dwarves would never leave ‘her sacred temple’. For these great sacrifices in return, Didice through Moradin promised to make the dwarves the best fighters that the world has ever seen.
Dwarves are potentially the eldest race in Avalore, and the evidence lies in the royal annals. While the all the combined ages of Avalore have lasted 33,275 years, the annals show that combined years of all the dwarven kings exceeds the length of all three ages. There are then in fact three kings that reigned before the Solarian Council was formed; and what happened before the kings, the origins of the Dwarves, is the true mystery, whose lies within The Vault of the Elders. It is the first thing mentioned in Dwarven History and none know what lies behind it, for the Maxim Royal Family has solemnly held a blood oath to never open its entrance, an oath that the first Maxim took upon the vault’s completion.
Dwarves have the honor of being the only race that is effectively seen as equals to the humans in stature, primarily for their prominent role in the all-important military. Dwarves also embody the more conservative ideals of Archaîon: Unquestioned obedience towards their government, thoroughness in their work, and loyalty towards their kin. On the other side, not everyone is an Archaïan soldier. To others, the dwarves can be seen as stubborn, distrusting, or even grim. Others would say that the dwarves are just as cold and calculating as the society that they’re born into, and only a dwarf would know better that a welcome doesn’t come any warmer in the world than clan hospitality.
The Dwarves enjoy a cultural singularity that is unparalleled to any other race. Practically all Dwarves can call their home to be Dun Hoger, whose name in Dwarven means “Grove of the Elders”. Entirely enclosed by mountains, Dun Hoger is fiercely protected by its dwarves. For legend holds that no enemy army has ever laid a single foot within its sacred borders. In recent years, a disagreement between dwarves has been forming, around the ambiguity of Didice’s second commandment. The traditionally prevailing group, ‘Loyalists’, believes that her second commandment means that dwarves living outside Dun Hoger are nothing less than impious. The emerging group, ‘Progressives’ believes that dwarves could make settlements anywhere as long as they maintain worship of Didice. This second group will also contend that an empire needs to be built for the Children of Didice to remain viable in this fast moving world.
The dwarves are stalwart but hardly secure. Despite common values, dwarves and humans don’t always think alike. When human and dwarven senators clash, the dwarves are accused of being overly conservative and callous, while humans are accused of being far too liberal and rash. The best example of such a disagreement is Dun Hoger’s monarchy, The Maxim Dynasty. On multiple occasions Human senators have attempted to incite the Dwarves into abolishing their monarchy, in favor of a Republic. Though every time, the Dwarves have proved immovable; their monarchy is considered sacred. For all the controversy however, Dwarves and Humans have always held mutual respect for one another.
While many respected dwarves practice alchemy, few take on the role of alchemist—except in the
interest of creating magical beers. Dwarves see alchemists as odd folk, best to be avoided though still respected.
Although their kin usually call them berserkers, dwarf barbarians are a valuable part of
many dwarven armies. Those who strike out on their own to become adventurers do so in search of greater challenges.
Stigma for bards might exists, as they are a more chaotic ilk carousing around in a more lawful society. But recording and retelling the stories of your ancestors is chief importance, and such a task is well within a dwarven bard’s repertoire, earning respect amongst the elders.
The legendary Dwarven Defenders may be the more recognized military export of Dun Hoger. But in the mountain pass of Karaboz, there are clans of dwarves that ride strange beasts such as large boars, rams, or griffins and are proud of it.
Devotion to Didice is stronger than any worship that the other races practice towards their supposed patron gods. Dwarves revere the goddess and those that are chosen to be Priests of Didice are respected religious leaders within their communities.
The Fighter is a good profession to have. Straight forward work, good pay, opportunity for mobility. The huge downside is that a dwarf can’t always stay with his family as he ought to be. Regardless, there are clans that apply their famous dwarven ethic to the profession of the Soldier and the military state is all the more grateful for it.
Although not unheard of, dwarves rarely commit treason against their own people. As a result, the
few dwarves who take up the mantle of inquisitor spend most of their time traveling the world to protect their people from outside threats.
While dwarves undoubtedly have the discipline required of monks, there is a strong stigmata on the martial arts as they are elven. Monks also fail to earn a bona fide living and shy away from familial ties, two massive disconnects from popular society. The few dwarven monks there are often form like-minded enclaves of their own, referring to one another as brother and sister.
Dwarves who turn to the art of subterfuge are less so the cat burglars and more so the security specialists that are hunting them down. Lock smiths, Trap smiths, and private investigators are common Dwarven professions.
The battle was a slaughterhouse for both sides concerned. On the carnage splattered field, in the middle of ailing and wailing, men screaming curses to the gods above, sat a dwarf. One of his brothers approached him when sitting dwarf uttered with perfect stoicism ‘Sir, I appear to be dying’. Gloim grandson of Mallus, member of the Wardane Clan had a Deredar Naginata impaled through his gut. ‘Aye’ responded the other dwarf, Arcturus of the Blackwald Clan. He turned to his battle brothers ‘Get this man a drink and a smoke’. Gloim would have the best: Barleybrew Lager and Wittlespick Tobacco. Several of the men gathered around as Gloim relayed his last words to Arcturus.
‘We held the line’?
‘Aye’ the other men testified, each giving a single nod.
‘Good. Give my regards to the wife’.
‘Aye, captain’s told me you will be receiving a Civic Crown for your work. The missus will be well off’.
Some time past as the presence of death in its finality blanketed over the company, threatening to choke out all last words. Arcturus broke the silence as a hammer shatters rock.
‘Gloim, you did a good job’.
‘Aye, a damn good job’, repeated and resounded the dwarven choir of soldiers, nodding to another in accord. Gloim, son of Gleam, held his work ethic tightly clenched in his right hand.
‘A damn good job’ Gloim muttered under his breath. His grip loosed, for they were the last words of a Dwarf that returned to the goddess Didice from whence he came.
-The Death of a Dwarf
The Racial Traits
- Ability Scores: Dwarves receive a +3 to Constitution, a +1 to Wisdom, and a -1 to Charisma. Dwarves are especially tough and wise, though perhaps not as approachable as the other races.
- Artificer: Dwarves can cast ‘Mending’ as a spell like ability and create earth as ‘Create Water’ with the Prayer of Didice.
- Impervious: Dwarves have spell resistance equal to (10 + HD).
- Rugged: Dwarves receive an additional 8 hp at 1st level.
- All other traits can be found in Core Rulebook.