The dwarves of Dalun traveled across the Dungardt Mountains in the East and settled all along its ranges and peaks. The mightiest of the dwarf lords built their halls in the North and made alliances with the Gnomes of Rokourd. Only a few dwarf clans traveled any further South than the River Krathis. Known as the Drahnümmar in dwarven; there are two major groups of dwarves in Dalun: “mountain dwarves” and “hill dwarves,” also known as the Kra’hünmar. Mountain dwarves account for a majority of dwarf-kind in Dalun and inhabit the a number of cities along the Dungardt Mountain range. A “hill dwarf” is the name given to the dwarves who migrated out of the Dungardt Mountains after the Age of Fire to establish trade with the rest of the folk of Dalun and bring wealth back to the depleted dwarven kingdom. They bear this name because by comparison to the Dungardt Mountains, any mountain of Dalun is just a hill.
A typical dwarf warrior
Culture & Pursuits
Mountain dwarves tend to value tradition and the veneration of ancestors. To a mountain dwarf family, clan and king are the most important things to honor and protect. Because craftsmanship and warrior prowess are so highly regarded by mountain dwarves many become miners, smiths, masons and soldiers. Many mountain dwarves have a hard time putting their god before their clan and thus very few mountain dwarves become clerics or paladins, though some will train as druids as dwarves hold a mystic sort of reverence for their ancestors. The pursuits of wizardry are not encouraged by many mountain dwarf families, however there are no particular laws barring the use or study of the arcane. However, the value of a wizard’s augmentations to the already impressive dwarven craftsmanship is most welcome, so while there tend to be few wizards and even fewer sorcerers or bards, the wizards among the mountain dwarves usually wind up rising to prominence. Rogues amongst mountain dwarves are not common either because of the pride and respect that many mountain dwarves hold for earning their gold through bitter combat and masterful works of craftsmanship rather than subterfuge.
Hill dwarves differ from their mountain-dwelling kin in a number of ways. Though still important, hill dwarves have much looser ties to the crown and do not keep as close record of family and clan lineage. To a hill dwarf the greatest pride they can attain is the amassing of wealth and honor for themselves or their immediate family members. While mountain dwarves have a deep reverence for their ancestors and kings, hill dwarves respect heroes and adventurers who have won renown for themselves or the dwarven people. To outsiders dwarves can appear greedy and selfish, particularly hill dwarves because many dwarf families measure ones worth by their achievements and wealth. However, to most dwarves wealth is not often horded simply to have the biggest pile of gold, but instead to show the greatness and prowess of the dwarf as a people. And it is a frequently practiced custom among dwarves to send their treasures to their families or land lieges back in the Dungardt Mountains. Or to invest this wealth in art projects or military needs.
After the war with the humans during the first age the dwarven kingdom’s treasury was drained of its wealth from hiring mercenaries and training soldiers. The hill dwarves were the ones who forsook the rewards of land granted by the lords of the dwarven aristocracy to obtain riches by adventuring throughout Dalun. Hill dwarves take to a wider variety of professions than their mountain-dwelling kin and many have become adventurers.
While the mountain dwarves reside along the slopes and amongst the tunnels of the Dungardt Mountains, hill dwarves can be found throughout much of Dalun. Many dwarves of either lineage can be found in Drithkowl and Edril simply because of their proximity to the dwarven homelands. Very few dwarves live in Lathlor because of the tension and rivalry with the elves and very small number of dwarves have settled throughout Vyankal. The dwarves of Vyankal are for the most part the legacy of hill dwarves seeking treasure throughout the barrows of the grey moors and some have made homes in Wyrnward and Westwater. There is a larger demographic of hill dwarves living in Tradekeep where their skills and affinity for precious stones and metals has afforded them a position of wealth within the affluent city. Dwarves can be found in smaller communities throughout the rest of Caelildran and throughout the trade towns of Burnordraath. Like many demi-humans, dwarves are not welcome and are few in number throughout Drasguard.
Rulership and Law
Because dwarves are so long lived they tend to have large families with many different generations of dwarves living and working throughout the family unit. These large, and often-times, complex families with their various interconnecting marriages are grouped into clans. A clan represents a number of dwarf families who can trace their bloodline back to common ancestor, typically one of renown or import. Mountain dwarves hold their clan in high regard whereas hill dwarves tend to have fewer clan ties and concern themselves mostly with their immediately family or their own personal goals. Regardless of type, clans hold no actual political power; they are not a governing body. However, it is not uncommon for particular clans to be more involved in politics and to maintain a tradition of governance and therefore certain clans are more actively seen in legal affairs.
Before the Age of Fire the dwarves of Dalun maintained a type of feudal oligarchy with a council of kings ruling over a number of mountain-fiefs. Once the dwarves were at open war with Adranatas the decentralized kings were found to be ineffective at co-coordinating their efforts and too often would the commanders of the various dwarven armies refuse to cooperate out of clan disputes or issues of vassalage to a different king and so on. Eventually the dwarf king of Eltgaard, Roawen Tras, declared himself “high king,” forced the other dwarf kings to follow his command and rallied the dwarven defenders. King Tras is a controversial figure among dwarven scholars because while he no doubt saved dwarf-kind from human conquest, he had many dwarven dissenters and political opponents killed for disobedience.
After the war, High King Tras stepped down from his position, but nominated a successor who in turn declared a successor and in time the tradition of declaring one dwarf king as high king began. The duties of the high king include arbitrating matters between the other kings as well as seeing to matters that do not clearly belong to another dwarf king, such as the maintenance of roads and tunnels between cities. However these days the title of High King is more of an honorary designation.
To the dwarf-kind religion is more personal and inward than it is for humans. Dwarf priests of any creed are rare because they already hold deep respect and reverence for their ancestors and kings. The gods are seen more as creators and characters that exist somewhere between myth and history. To the dwarven people the gods do not appoint the king or guide the clans. To many dwarves the gods are not to be feared, but many dwarves recognize the fervor of their followers, particularly the zealots of the dark gods. Still, faith is powerful and even dwarves can come to revere the gods, so it is not entirely unheard of, especially among hill dwarves, to see priests or shaman.
Some dwarf communities will have “stone priests” which are usually a type of druid who draws divine power from the earth and the dwarf’s ancestors. Among adventuring dwarves, however, any of the “religious professions” may be found.