The World of Arith
Dwarves are a fairly secretive folk who dwell in underground communities and, until recently, have very little interaction with the world above. Dwarves credit their existence to Moradin, god of crafts, but others suggest that the dwarves were the first race created by the Elder Titans. According to that myth, the Titans created the dwarves, who then turned on their lords and fled underground to passages much too small for their creators. Just don’t tell that to a dwarf.
View the Dwarven Pantheon
Used to dwelling in very close quarters, dwarves have no sense of personal space. However, living in such confines, dwarves are generally fastidiously clean. Dwarves rarely have access to running water, so they use course salts and powders to scrub clean.
Dwarves build in octagonal structures, underground these octagonal keeps stretch from cavern floor to ceiling, looking like large columns holding up the “roots of the world” Aboveground the octagon also makes sense as being a very defendable shape. The origin of the octagon is the dwarven belief in the Seven Dwarven Fathers and the Once and Future King, who will unite the seven dwarven nations and lead the dwarves to their rightful place as lords of the earth.
Dwarven living space tends to be small, personal space consists of a bedchamber, usually a 5 by 5 cell, while most of the tower is dedicated to communal areas. Among these communal areas is a forge, workshop and small still or brewery. Dwarves do not purchase beer or ale, since each family makes their own from recipes passed down generation to generation. Dwarves often bring beer or ale when attending a function at another home, and gifts of spirits are almost expected from dwarf to dwarf. Of course a subtle competition has arisen, with each family claiming and trying to prove that they make the best spirits. Inter-family strife has erupted as each branch tries to improve the recipe or cling to the true house recipe. To insult a dwarf’s ale is a great insult to the family.
The main keep of any dwarven settlement is usually at the center of the settlement. A great hall and kitchen often takes up the first floor of the keep. Often the keep is made of two or more adjoining octagonal towers. The second tower often housing the Thane’s family. Aboveground, the Hill dwarves may not adjoin the keeps, but rather connect several keeps with walls, for safeguarding livestock and providing a safe area for children. Belowground, many dwarven keeps are built at the edge of chasms leading deeper into the Darklands, with bridges across the chasms connecting the structures.
The dwarves have had good relations with the above-ground races in Arith, however, in the Darklands, the dwarven people wage endless war with the drow and the ghoul empire all while protecting their cities from the other monstrous inhabitants of those lands. Some dwarves take their hatred of the drow one step further and distrust the above ground Eldar (elves and eladrin) for their distant relation to the dwarven enemy. To combat the underground menaces, the dwarves began creating an army of construct warriors known as the Gearforged (or more commonly the Warforged). Somehow the construct gained the spark of life and sentience. Dwarves attribute these new living construct to Moradin and the warforged worship Moradin as their Creator as well, but some dwarves still treat the warforged as mere constructs causing strife in the dwarven communities with significant numbers of warforged.
In the last hundred years or so, many dwarves have left their ancestral homes under the mountains and now live in the open hills. Some have even chosen to live in the cities of other races. Dwarven craftsmanship is second to none, though it is said that the eladrin can sometimes match it, and dwarves who live among the other races often become fantastically wealthy.
In the Westlands, the Whitecrown Mountains houses one of the oldest dwarven communities, the kingdom of Dralgamor. The Iron Hills also holds the dwarf holds of Angbadur, which acts as a go between for their mountain cousins. Other dwarf holds lay scattered across the landscape of the Westlands. Some of which are listed below.
In Sarten, the Hill Dwarf community of Balenjyr
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