|Average Weight:||160 lbs.|
|Eye Color:||Brown (exclusively)|
|Country of Origin:||Ruthmarna|
At A Glance
Dwarves are not the exclusive race in Ruthmarna, though they definitely outnumber all other resident races including humans by a wide margin. The exact number is unknown, but the Dwarven population throughout the region is from 200,000 to 500,000. Whereas the humans (who are the only noteworthy minority in Ruthmarna) live aboveground in mountainous villages, a vast number of the dwarves are subterranean or semi- subterranean folk with a curious adaptation to the rigors of life in the inhospitable clime.
Cities and Villages
There is a surprising mix of aboveground and underground establishments that the dwarves call home, but they are much more intertwined than most foreigners would imagine. Usually, there are aboveground villages filled with a mixture of dwarves and humans, and then directly under them larger underground dwarven communities. This organization is discussed in-depth and is integral to the society of the dwarves on the whole, as the dwarven community has countless intricacies that rival their famed stonework. Aboveground cities are usually very basic affairs, the usual wooden buildings with banks and markets and inns and the like. However, underground cities have a much more unique and interesting history. Underground dwarven communities have become magnificent underground cities as dwarves have toiled under the earth for centuries. What began as rough-hewn passages eventually became grand halls with pillars, statuary, friezes, and other architectural adornments as dwarven stoneworkers have improved them. This is largely due to the recent renaissance that has come along with the relatively recent arrival of the Arangothians, which allowed the dwarves to largely ignore population control and focus on the more grand factors within their society.
The chief activities of the dwarves are mining, metalcraft and artisanship, but also animal husbandry, small-time horticultural farming, and to a lesser extent, hunting.
Agriculture and Hunting
Many dwarves lead a seasonal existence – meaning that they spend their summers aboveground, tending their flocks of sheep and goats – the only livestock suited to the mountainous habitat and retreat to winter in the caves. Large-scale agriculture on the terraced meadows is nearly impossible, but the seasonal dwellers often manage to harvest enough hay and wild grasses growing throughout Ruthmarna over the summer seasons in order to keep their livestock fed throughout the winter. This takes a lot of work and one will find most aboveground dwarves to be insurmountably busy. The semiannual driving of the flock is a major dwarven event – as hundreds of livestock are driven from the caves to the pasture lands when the weather turns warm enough in the spring – and back into the caves after the harvest wind has blown and the season turns to early autumn. The aboveground dwarves often have temporary settlements established each time that they abandon once it's time to go under.
There are a tiny number of permanent villages which oftentimes have a somewhat mixed population. Dwarven hunters are the primary providers of food, and they tend to spend their time here and there to ply their profession, stalking and killing wild mountain beasts for meat, hide, and any other parts they can utilize. Hunters are also important as mountaineers and guides for trade caravans.
Dwarven Industry & Business
Regardless of all of these subsistence activities, the Ruthmarnan dwarves do not produce enough food to feed their entire population, thus they must resort to trading with the granaries of Arangoth – and they have quite a lot to trade with. The mineral veins of Ruthmarnan mines are some of the richest this side of the continent – providing the dwarves with a mighty bargaining chip. Many dwarves live underground year round, since mining, smelting, and metalcrafting are such a lucrative industry.
The dwarven proclivity for construction and artisanship makes the quality of their manufactured goods exceed those of other areas of the kingdom. Ruthmarna tools, weapons, mechanisms and decorative jewelry are highly prized throughout the land. The fact that they're sitting on quite a lot of gold also allows the dwarves to enjoy substantial food imports by the King's decree.
Other dwarves that live aboveground the majority of the time are primarily merchants and bankers that dwell in human settlements. There are also representatives of Ruthmarnan merchant houses in Hornath-ul-Marfed, Drache, and Telemenx.
As previously mentioned, the dwarven merchant representatives often dwell aboveground where they would meet with trade dignitaries from all areas of the kingdom. Trade caravans often employ dwarven hunters to guide them through the mountain paths which are infested with deadfalls, crumbling rock, wild beasts, and bandits.
The dwarven undercities are hewn and carved out from the vast rock walls of the huge cavernous network. Entire houses, marketplaces, citadels are created in this fashion with beautiful architectural and engineering work. Making full use of their environment for pragmatism and decoration, one finds the dwarven spaces not cavernous in the traditional sense of dank, stalactice-laden grittiness. Friezes, intricate wall-carvings, sturdy under- and overpasses are abundant. There are food-storing niches and animal holding pens for the winter as well. The dwarven mines are run much like a plantation farm would be in the aboveground world. Ownership and work distribution is based around extended families and guild-clans.
A peculiar aspect of dwarven society is the morluk (which is where the Arangothek word morrek, for guild, stems) or the guild-clan. Somewhat like the traditional craft-based guilds of the humans, these groups organize themselves by trade – particularly craftsmanship. However, here the similarity ends. Dwarven secrets of the Craft and participation in their tradition are very important points of Ruthmarnan mysticism.
Everyone in a certain guild-clan considers all other members of that particular guild-clan relatives. If not related by blood, the member who takes his or her vows becomes accepted as fictive kin. Then, much like a practicing masonic order of old, the member is slowly schooled in the craft mysteries of that particular guild-clan. Dwarves venerate crafts that create, such as smithing, architecture, etc. This makes a great deal of labor separation and also eliminates many jacks-of-all-trades from the population. The tradeoff in being thusly specialized often means that the dwarf craftsman makes something of extremely good quality. The longer dwarven lifespan allows for more time to get experience and refine the work that one does.
Ties and relationships between the craft guild-clans are kept by multiple means, often through the use of arranged marriages. It is not uncommon to find members of the same blood-family in different guild-clans. Sometimes tensions arise which prevent full dwarven cohesion and make rifts among the population, but to date there have been no known instances of civil war.
Not everyone lives absolutely by this tradition and many dwarves are independents, or functioning in a capacity that does not require one to be an initiate into a craft. Most of the dwarves that live on the surface are guildless. There are numerous exceptions to general rules such as the dwarf hunter tradition of keeping small nuclear families and passing on the trappings and skill of the hunter to the child – or if no male child is present – to a close apprentice who becomes a son to the master hunter by fictive kin. This practice is very common amongst the dwarves.
Dwarven myth suggests that in a time of darkness and cold, when the force of Menxruk, the evil god were in greater prevalence than the force of holy Menxvan. One of Menxruk’s chaos-thralls was a terrific dragon that dwelled in the Ruthmarnan cavern of Nerlan. The dragon’s wings were vast enough to cover mountainsides and its burning eyes were as twin windows into fiery hells. It terrorized the land growing each day more and more destructive and the black smoke from its fires obscured the sky, making the world dark and cold.
The dwarves retreated further and further into the caves when suddenly from deep within they felt the warm glow of fire and the sounds of metalwork. Curiously they went to investigate and saw a dwarf like them but infinitely more resplendant in nature. This was the First Smith, an agent of Menxvan. He showed the ragtag survivors how to work stone and metal, making it pliable under their will; how to shape raw material into that which is useful for civilization. He showed them how to create stalwart bronze armor and mighty bronze weapons for themselves to wield in combat.
Using his knowledge, these dwarves went out with their equipment – the first work of their hands, and slew the monster, clearing the land and sky of his evil. They became immortalized as heroes and when they returned, they re-ordered dwarven society by introducing the guild-clans, each hero becoming patron of his own type of craft and passing it on to his followers.
Some myths suggest that the bowl-shaped amphitheater of Lurintheti Netri was the site of a giant volcanic eruption that has something to do with the smith’s and the dwarves’ work.
Since dwarf mysticism is so much involved with craft, dwarven magic is strongly tied to the process of making something out of something else – and making it work for the dwarven race. As such, the mystics of the society tend to be strong patrons of the magic of transmutation and geomancy. Moreso than an airy elf or flashy human mage, a dwarf mystic will painstakingly study long-term effects, nuances, and efficiency of the magic that he weaves. Magic is not very important to the dwarves, though a mage will never be scorned or turned away from a dwarven community.
Dwarven cuisine is mostly imported from other lands but also derived from their livestock and what the hunters can obtain on the surface or underground (though hunter fare makes up a relatively small part of dwarven eating.) An obvious option is milk and cheese – and Ruthmarnan cheese dishes are famous throughout Arangoth and several surrounding lands. Edible fungus which grows abundantly throughout the caves provides the majority of their “vegetables.” Importing spices, the dwarves make some great spicy dishes with a very interesting local flavor to them. Despite the fact that most their food comes from outside, their cuisine is unique and prized in the kingdom.