Dwarf Background

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Post  D.A.R on Tue Nov 11, 2008 11:30 pm

The Dwarfs are one of the most ancient races of the Warhammer world. From the beginning of time, their traditional homeland has been the Worlds Edge Mountains. It is a vast, forbidding mountain chain that marks the eastern boundary of the Old World. Here, in ages past, the Dwarfs built their massive underground strongholds among the high peaks and tumbling chasms. At its height, their realm spread from the far north to the distant south, while their mines stretched far beneath the earth itself. These days of glory are now long gone; many strongholds lie in ruins or are occupied by evil creatures. The great achievements of the past are now nothing more than memories -- ancient sagas sung in the half-empty halls of the few surviving Dwarf strongholds.

Dwarfs are the greatest miners and tunnelers in the world, and they delve deep beneath their mountain homes for metals, precious stones, and other mineral wealth buried there. From this raw material, they make all kinds of precious objects, including weapons, armor, marvelous vessels, and jewels worked with incredible skill. Beneath each Dwarf stronghold there exists a labyrinth of caverns and tunnels created and enlarged over centuries as the Dwarfs dug ever deeper in search of new riches.

Dwarfs are supremely skilled craftsmen and take great pride in everything they do. It is almost impossible for a Dwarf to hurry his work, and no Dwarf could ever bring himself to produce something slipshod or cheap. Whether it be forging weapons and armor, the construction of fortifications, or the mechanical inventions of the famed Engineers Guild, the ingenuity and technical ability of Dwarfs is unsurpassed anywhere in the Old World. No other race, not even the great craftsmen of the High Elves, can rival the care and skill of the Dwarfs.

Dwarfs obtain all they really need by trading raw materials and artifacts with their neighboring peoples. A few basic crops are grown within the walls of the Dwarf strongholds and hardy livestock graze on the high pastures. Good land is scarce in the mountains and Dwarfs are not great farmers, although they are enthusiastic hunters, able to find meat and fur even in the highest peaks. Grain and fruit are brought into the mountains by merchants and exchanged in the strongholds for metalwork and gold. If trade routes are cut by war, and the strongholds are besieged, the dour Dwarfs tighten their belts and dine on Dwarf stone bread, a tough bread baked from a mixture of wild grain and pulverized rock, made almost palatable when washed down with good Dwarf ale! Indeed, Dwarf ale is so nourishing that Dwarfs can survive for weeks on this alone. Every stronghold has a great store of barrels and takes immense pride in the efficacy and unique flavor of its ale.

Dwarfs are a grim and exceptionally proud people. They are sparing with their praise and often disparaging about the achievements of other races. Dwarfs respect three things above all others: age, wealth, and skill. Of course, a Dwarf will always carefully explain how his race is the oldest of all, how his ancestors earned unimaginable wealth, and how the Dwarfs are the most skilled builders and smiths in the world. This is not boasting, it is just setting the record straight.

Unless slain in battle or some other mishap befalls them, Dwarfs live to a very great age. The relative length and fullness of a Dwarf's beard indicate how old and wise he is -- hence, Dwarfs are immensely proud of their beards and never cut or trim them. Whatever they are doing, if Dwarfs are in any doubt as to how to proceed, they look to the Dwarf with the longest beard to tell them what to do. He provides what is invariably the wisest solution.

Dwarfs have a great reverence for old things, valuing them for their memories and associations. When a skilled Dwarf smith dies, his work lives after him and forms a tangible connection to the past. The preservation and continuing use of some ancient device or construction is a form of respect and veneration for its creator. All Dwarf master craftsmen are adept at reforging ancient weapons or incorporating ancient relics into their new works.

Hoarding wealth is a great passion among Dwarfs. They are an industrious race and work hard for their riches and possessions. When a Dwarf dies, his possessions are divided amongst his family and so are passed on from generation to generation. A family's treasure is held most dear, as it is both a source of wealth and a link between the living and the dead. No Dwarf feels secure unless his treasure hoard is heaped high enough for him to sit on.

The hoards of some ancient Dwarf lords were of legendary proportions. Even today, the riches of the remaining Dwarf strongholds are a great attraction to Orcs, Goblins, and other would-be conquerors. However, the Dwarfs are extremely tough, and their strongholds have mostly withstood the test of time.

Nevertheless, over the millennia, several great and proud strongholds have fallen to Orcs and other invaders, their populations dispersed and slain, and their hoards of gold and artifacts broken up and scattered across the world.

All Dwarfs have a rigid sense of honor that is centered upon a bond or promise. If a Dwarf makes a deal, he will remember it and keep to it, even if it costs him dearly to do so. A Dwarf will honor the word of an ancestor even if it was made centuries before. In turn, Dwarfs expect others to keep their word, and look to the families of oathbreakers for recompense.

It is the worst possible insult to break faith with a Dwarf; it is also a serious mistake. A broken bond will be remembered forever and inevitably avenged. Great breaches of faith against the Dwarf people are recorded in a massive tome kept in Karaz-a-Karak, and it is known as the Great Book of Grudges. No dealings are entered into with anybody without prior reference to this book, which almost amounts to a chronicle of Dwarf history. It is part of Dwarf folklore and many Dwarfs know by heart its fiery accounts of great wrongs done to their ancestors.eDwarfs have little knowledge of magic as it is practiced by Elves and Humans, and they have no wizards as such. The magical lore of the Dwarfs is closely linked to their craftsmanship in weaponry, armor, and other artifacts. Dwarf Runesmiths make many magical devices, including the finest weapons and armor. They are masters of rune lore, the art of using runes to entrap magic and imbue artifacts with arcane power. Their knowledge has been passed down by word of mouth from the days of the ancestors, although knowledge of the most potent runes is a very powerful secret known to only a few of the most adept Runelords.


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