The following is a 2nd edition based archive on the Dwarves of Oerth. Some material has been borrowed from other resources while most has been my version of these great people of the Flanaess.
From the time when Dragons and Giants were first to claim rule of Oerth. A race breed from the very palate of the world was born. These diminitive giants,show a brief claim to their history in the Flanaes and where they see themselves in this human dominated world.
The Dwarves of Oerth
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The Dwarves of Oerth
The Dwarves of Oerth, are one of the hardiest races, people well suited for either war or toil. They are unswerving and steadfast in friendship, unforgetting and unforgiving in hatred, ruthless and unflinching in war. They neither ask nor give quarter in battle, a trait that reflects their attitudes towards all aspects of their lives. Fiercely independent, they are prideful to a fault and unfailingly fierce in dismay. A propensity for the heaviest weapons and armors reflects their racial demeanor.
Dwarves are short, stocky, and strong, with disproportionately strong limbs. They can carry much heavier burdens than one would presume, even given their knotty hewed frames. They are barrel chested and at first glance awkwardly built, but this misconception is quickly corrected when they are seen wading into a press of foemen several times their weight and size. They are a hairy folk, males and females alike, with the males being the hairier of the two. They are bearded and mustached almost without exception. Many sages believe the beards and moustaches of the females are false, as this is a perfect way for the dwarves to protect the females of their kind, who are rarely granted too their race.
Every day Beliefs
The following are what most dwarves believe to be true about life and Oerth, whether these beliefs are true or not. The Gods created them from the corpses of the fallen Jotens. They were created to defend Oerth from all dangers as the races before them have failed, and those after them were too weak to do so alone. Elves were also given this chance but failed and so the dwarves must face these responsibilities alone. The Gnomes were first but driven insane by the vast amount of knowledge the gods shared with them. The Trolls were formed by the blood of the Jotens, which turned those gnomes which were driven insane into Trolls. The Linnorm and the Jotens are responsible for the creation of the Orcs, Goblinoids, Ogres, Giants, and Dragons of today. The Humans were created to help combat the Orcish races, as both are capable of mating with any partner and creating numerous offspring. The blood of a dragon heals all ailments, even removes curses. The blood of a giant will add 10 years to your life. Halflings were the result of humans mating with gnomes, as such the gods accepted them and made them a race of their own. Elves secretly lust beautiful things made of metal as much as dwarves do. They only pretend they don’t, so as to get the best price or opportunity to steal such things in their dealings with other races. Orcs and Goblinoids can tarnish some metals merely by touching them. Humans need to be watched closely or else they will become as evil as the Orcs. Halflings lie out of habit, orcs, giants, and goblinoids lie because they are evil and wish to conquer Oerth. Trolls never lie or tell the truth, so one needs to be ever vigilant when dealing with there kind. Gnomes are trusted allies who resent their past failures and look to us dwarves to redeem them.
Dwarven Manners in Brief
To call someone a ‘long beard’ means that he or she is wise, (often referred to gnomes) experienced, a dependable veteran, and is a compliment. To call someone a ‘no-beard’ or ‘shorthair’ is an insult. All males’ dwarves grow beards, some unlucky females grow facial hair as well, and a dwarf will only shave their beards when they are deeply ashamed or if exiled from their clan because of dishonest dealings, especially against dwarven-kind. To call a dwarf ‘little’ is a small insult but to refer to him as a ‘little man’ is a nasty insult which has caused treaties to be undone. Conversely,’ standing tall’ as in ‘you stand tall among us’, is a term of admiration and respect. Strangely, the actual height of a dwarf does not influence his or her treatment by other dwarves in anyway.
A dwarf may introduce himself to a stranger of another race as ‘Thorin’ of the dwarves. If Thorin is his real name, this is only a minor insult, reflecting that the dwarf doesn’t trust the stranger well enough to give his clan name. If the stranger is a dwarf, it is an unfriendly greeting. If the dwarf gives the name ‘Thorin’ falsely, it is meant as an insult.
Dwarven Customs and Nature
Dwarves have many customs that appear strange to humans. Those immediately apparent to any visitor to dwarven lands is that dwarves prefer to live underground or, if above ground , they prefer dark, massive stone structures that mimic conditions underground. Dwarves seem to dislike and fear the sea. Dwarves tend to be surly or sarcastic. Dwarves tend to like games even gambling, of all sorts. They enjoy rhythmic drumming in music, disliking flutes and other wind instruments. Dwarves enjoy dancing, either among themselves or watching others when in human-dominated communities.
Dwarves are hardy by nature, resistant to mind effecting magic and toxic substances. There are two races of dwarves, the mountain and the hill dwarves (a third exists but they are so far removed from the dwarven way of life that we do not list them here). The mountain dwarves are more reclusive and less likely to join forces with other races. They are more numerous in number than their hill dwarf brethren. Mountain dwarves believe that they alone must combat the dark forces and depending on the other races can lead to their down fall. Some mountain dwarves have changed their view after the wars, but many still hold this ideal to be true. Hill dwarves are more acceptable of other races, often offering their protection to those races that pay them tribute as lords of the lands. Hill dwarves have even joined long lasting forces with other races to combat a common foe. Hill dwarves state that all the good races of Oerth are responsible for its defense, and the dwarves are merely and example of this. In fact there are many hill dwarf strongholds with gnomes and halflings forming non-dwarven clans in their society.
For statistical purposes, Dwarves receive a +1 to Constitution and a -1 to their Dexterity scores. Dwarves are highly resistant to toxic substances and receive a +1 to their saving throw versus poison and other toxic substances for every three points of Constitution score they have. Dwarves also receive a +1 to their saving throw versus mind altering and affecting spells for every three points of Wisdom score they have. Because of their hardy nature dwarves are granted a one category adjustment to encumbrance affects. What would be a light encumbrance for a human character of similar strength would be an unencumbered dwarf. Other dwarven abilities and skills are listed as follows.
Underground Detection Abilities: Because dwarves are creatures of the underground, they gain certain detection abilities:
Detect or Determine. . . Roll 1d6
Grade or slope in passage 1-5
New tunnel/passage construction 1-5
Sliding/shifting walls or rooms 1-4
Stonework traps, pits, and deadfalls 1-3
Approximate depth underground 1-3
All dwarves have received training in both the fighting arts and the use of the pick, axe, or hammer and receive one of these as free weapon proficiency regardless of class. This has also given them a higher starting Thaco and armor class bonus.
Combat Bonuses: All dwarves receive a +1to hit with all melee attacks and a +1 bonus to their armor class, when wielding any melee weapon. Dwarven warriors may start with a free weapon of choice proficiency in one of the following weapons axe, pick, or hammer.
Infravision: All Dwarves have excellent vision and can see into the infrared spectrum, tracing the heat images of both persons and objects. This ability extends out to 120 ’.
All dwarf character s must choose one of the craft proficiencies listed on pages 39 & 40 of the complete book of dwarves. This proficiency is free and additional slots may be added to improve skill usage
All dwarf characters must pay 2 times the experience points to attain a level. For even though dwarves toil away at their work, they do take more time to prefect their skills than a human would.
Dwarven Courting and Marriage
Courting, romance, and fertility are sacred to all dwarves. Courtship begins with a time apart, exchanging of poems and gifts, the latter often battle spoils or personally crafted jewelry. This may last for years, as participants try to impress each other. If interest grows sufficient, the two live together for a time, often adventuring side by side or working together as artisans. This allows both to fully learn the personality of their chosen one. If deep love develops, marriage follows.
Dwarven marriage is considered a blessed event. The marriage custom is followed by the exchanging of rings. These rings are placed into a bag with two false rings. Each participant draws a ring from the bag. If a dwarf grabs his own ring it is up to him or her to deliver them to the other. If each grab the others ring then they are bound to marriage by the gods. If one grabs a false ring then the love is considered false and the marriage ceremony ends. If both draw false rings then the gods forbid these two to be joined together and they must permantly separate any ties or bonds to each other and never court each other again. Most marriages are within the same clan some are with dwarves of other clans, and non-dwarven mates are nearly unheard of. After marriage it is not unusual for the mates to spend time apart, meeting only a few times a year.
Dwarven Clans of Oerth
The following are some of the known dwarven clans of Oerth:
Axewell Bannerbearer Battlehorn Bladestar Cairadun Crownfell Darkhammer Deephelm Flamestrike Flintaxe Goldhelm Hornhammer Hurindar Ironthrone Ironcrown Jotenfell Kadarel Mastutar Oreminder Pickhammer Rocksheild Stonehelm Stoneaxe Truecrown Tulsadar Underaxe Validurn Wailstone Wakeadder Wyrmdelve Xanintor Xothskull Yauthtil Yundthul Zundel by: D. Lovatt