Dwarf

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Vital Data

Representatives: No knows for certain how long ago the Dwarves descended to the underground, but generations bathed in the sickly glow of magma, skirmishing against tunneling predators, and braving the hazards of gas pockets, tremors, and cave-ins have produced a race perfectly suited to the challenges of their adopted home. A Dwarf’s body isn’t so much small as compact, a stout, hairy package of muscle whose size belies unusual strength and toughness. Their eyes are golden and luminous and their skins dark as coal, blending easily with the gloom of a cave or tunnel.

While the majority of the Dwarven race lives and works underground, surface-dwelling Dwarves do exist. These rare tribes of outcasts and rebels subsist largely on agriculture and stripmining, grouping into small villages run by human-like councils in direct defiance of Dwarven tradition. Though physically similar to their subterranean brethren, the gradual readjustment to sunlight and open areas has given rise to an ungainly, olive-skinned race regarded as ‘untouchable’ by true Dwarves.

A third group are the 'sub-surface' Dwarves that live in natural caves and caverns connected to the surface. Regular exposure to sunlight prevents them from developing the dark skin of their deepdwelling cousins, though their culture is much the same; physically, they resemble smaller, stouter humans with sharp, pronounced noses.
Typical Height: 1.2-1.4m (Male) / 1.1-1.3m (Female)
Typical Weight: 71-80kg (Male) / 55-60kg (Female)
Hair Colors: Brown, blond, gray, white
Eye Colors: Golden
Habitats: Mountains, Hills, Underground
Lifespan: 70-90 years
Young: 10-15 years
Average: 25-40 years
Old: 70-80 years

Society

Dwarves tunnel almost compulsively, driven by population pressure, precious ore, or simple curiosity to expand their caverns time and again. Even on his own, a single Dwarf can easily burrow for miles at a time; given enough time, Dwarven excavations will honeycomb entire worlds. Many Dwarven cities began life as outposts of a larger kingdom but splintered into self-sufficient settlements through time, distance, or natural disaster; generations of isolation turned them into extended families united by blood, a fact that accounts for the close-knit nature of Dwarven society.

Dwarven clans can number anywhere between five to several hundred; most make their living through the mining and refining of ore, trading with other Dwarves and surface-dwelling races to obtain needed supplies. As a result, many clans are devoted to a single craft like mining, smelting, tanning, or engineering. Nearly every member of the clan has a niche to fill, beginning training as early as childhood; most learn their craft from an older, more experienced relative, and are expected to follow their profession for the remainder of their lives. Surprisingly few Dwarves actively resent this; the vast majority desires nothing more from life than to pursue their trades, honing them with the ultimate intention of passing on their knowledge to the next generation of craftsmen.

Within each clan-family, seniority is the prevailing law; the eldest Dwarves determine how resources are allocated, where tunnels are dug, which clan-members are apprenticed to the family’s craftsmen and warriors. Only the largest clans have a formal King, usually chosen from the elder members of influential families and strengthened in influence through strategic intermarriage. This rule-by-kinship approach may explain why Dwarves have no formal law enforcement–to them, crime and punishment are a family affair rather than a governmental one. Even then, Dwarven criminals are rare. Those who commit a crime are expected to turn themselves or voluntarily choose exile; all but the rarest do. In other societies, this would be a surefire recipe for anarchy, but the Dwarven psyche is so steeped in the virtues of honor and duty that rebellion is almost unheard of.

"Rally-ho!" —Dwarven Villager, Final Fantasy IX

Seeded as it is with superior metalworkers and fighters, the Dwarven population is capable of mustering powerful, well-equipped armies if the situation demands it. In many ways, the army acts as a release valve for the rigid Dwarven society, absorbing malcontents that can’t be placed within the traditional craft-caste system. Though respectable in hand-to-hand combat, Dwarves prefer the use of explosives and machinery, and readily employ both in large-scale conflicts.

Roleplaying

Dwarven culture breeds stoic, reliable individuals willing and able to endure any amount of hardship. While they are fiercely loyal to their families and elders, Dwarves generally welcome outsiders and make personable companions for any adventuring group.

Dwarves readily speak Common Tongue, though their isolation from the outside world means that many clans are not quite up to speed with the latest linguistic developments. The result is a a thickly-accented, highly archaic variation of Common Tongue called Brogue. Though anyone versed in Common Tongue is capable of communicating with a Dwarf, the idiosyncratic vocabulary and pronunciations of Brogue often throw a spanner into the conversation.

'True' Dwarves have excellent dark-vision, resistance to extreme temperatures and a keen awareness of potential hazards. However, they have little experience with the surface world, and will suffer a period of disorientation once they venture above ground for the first time. In most cases, this manifests itself as a mild agoraphobia and clears within a matter of days. Only in rare cases does the shock of the transition cause lasting damage.

The largest handicap for 'true' Dwarves is their poor tolerance towards daylight; most resort to protective eyewear to overcome the inevitably blinding effects of the sun. Surface- and sub-surface dwelling Dwarves generally have several generations’ worth of exposure and suffer no such problems. Water, however, is a universal hazard; due to their physiology and dense bodies, Dwarves have tremendous difficulty swimming.

Dwarven names tend towards the classical English, with clan names replacing surnames. Each clan-family adopts its name from its primary area of trade or family profession, giving rise to monikers like David Heavenguard, Matthew Watchman, Derrick Stonehammer, Darcy Skywatcher and Jinkus Emptybottle.

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