Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Motherland Campaign Setting part 6 - The Dwarves of Talem Dûr

This article describes the dwarves of the Motherland Campaign setting. Here you find a general write up, and a particular breed of the Talem Dûr dwarves. Stay tuned for other dwarvenkin in the future.

Dwarves are shorter and stockier than humans. They average four feet in height, with squat, broad bodies, and solidly muscled. Their bodies seem purposely built for manual labor and warfare. Dwarves are nearly always bearded and grow thick facial hair. Female dwarves normally don't grow beards, and are very rarely seen outside dwarven realms. Dwarves are a very long lived race with lifespans of more than 300 years. As a dwarf becomes older so his beard becomes longer and thicker. Since dwarfs have a deep respect for age they would not cut off or trim their beards. Instead they skillfully groom their beards with braids and adorn them with other decorations but let them always grow naturally. Their skin, eye, and hair color ranges from a gray to a brownish tan.

Dwarven society is organized into strongholds each governed by a mountain king or thane. The kings of each stronghold are independent but during times of trouble a dwarven High King is elected, who takes ultimate charge. With the regalia of power he is fighting at the forefront of the battle, leading by valiant example. Unfortunately the dwarven regalia of powers are currently lost deep under Mount Ironheart, after a terrible incident. Outside of their strongholds dwarves are organized into clans. Clans are family-like structures of common ancestry.

Dwarves are widely known for their fine craftsmanship both with stone and metal, as they have a deep knowledge of the earth's secrets, which they protect jealously. As a result they pretty much distrust everyone else.

Dwarves venerate their ancestors, especially from their own clans.

The dwarven language (auld dwarwish or dwarvish for short) has not changed noticeably in the past 2500 years. The first original runes used as a written language are displayed in a temple in the city of Ironheart. However dwarves normally don't speak dwarvish in the company of others. When they speak their native tongue they do that in deep, resonant voices.

When not working or fighting dwarves love to drink, ruble and revel heavily in their clan's feast hall.

Ironheart Dwarves: These were once the stone dwarves (also known as mountain dwarves) of the Ironheart Mountain. Almost nine generations ago they were driven from their underground kingdom by a terrible enemy. Now they live above ground in the shadow of the snow-capped Ironheart Mountain in the city of Thunderhold. The Ironhearts are a stoic and sullen breed of dwarves, always talking about their glorious past and their return to the depths of the mountain when the time is right. They almost never talk about how they lost their home for they regard the circumstances of the incident as a great shame.
Nowadays most of these dwarves have lost their touch to the old days in the underground, as they live urban lives for generations now. Some established shops, inns, or merchant houses in the mountain city, and have earned a reputation as honest but tough traders. Other less honorable dwarves live in the lower parts of Thunderhold as beggars or muggers.
The Vigilant Lamplighters Guild is almost exclusively run by Ironheart Dwarves. While they pretend to be a normal guild they also have another agenda. The Lamplighters Guild constantly guard the street, looking for any signs of danger from their former underground realm. They patrol the old gateways to the mountains, looking for any sign of their enemy. The lights they carry through the streets is also a sign of importance to the dwarves. Since they were driven off their homes they tend a flame in their headquarter that they will one day carry to the depths of the mountain to lit their halls again. Carrying the light through the city is also a sign for their enemies that the dwarves are always watchful and will not tolerate another assault on their new homes from above or below. The Ironheart dwarves have developed a silent language they can use with their lanterns which they employ as signal lamps then.

(c) Copyright 2009 by Markus Brixius. All rights reserved.
(c) image by Ivan Gil, used with permission

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