"I wish to invent, to create, and to build. I want to use the marvels of this world, and shape them to my will. My siblings will marvel at my creations, and I shall enlighten them on how to shape the world themselves," answered Yera, the eldest of the eight.
It is an universally accepted fact that the Dwarves are the elder race of Zeras. Yera, their goddess, is known as the deity of order, civility, and engineering. Her associated element is lightning.
In their own personal version of their creation myth, it is said the creator wasn't initially sure how to shape Yera and her children, the concept of flesh wasn't something he'd thought of yet. However, he did know of her love for the metals that composed Zeras, so he created her in its form, and with an enchantment granted the metal form life. It is said he gave her the secret to this enchantment, so that she could teach her children how to create more of their kind, and thus the Dwarves came to be.
Characteristic Bonus: +1 to Constitution or Intelligence
Skill Bonus: +1 to Crafts and Tech Use (applies to tools and inventions and stuff in middle ages, like a boat, a wagon, ect, as well)
Power: Metal Head: - Once per encounter, a Dwarf may reduce the hit points they lose from an attack of their choice to 1. They may choose to activate this power after damage is rolled.
The appearance of a male dwarf is about what one would expect. They are relatively short, standing around 4'6, muscular and bearded. Females stand about a foot taller, and while muscular as well, are more lean than bulky, their hair is usually braided, though not always. The Dwarves are one of the few races of Zeras who aren't composed of flesh; they are metallic constructs who have been enchanted with life through a process only the Dwarves can understand. The method of enchantment isn't something they can express clearly, even among themselves; it's an intrinsic ability they are born with, and even they are unsure just how it works. The birth of a Dwarf is something seen as a very special building project between a married couple. They literally construct the frame of their child, and together enchant the vessel with life.
As magical automatons, they do not reproduce sexually, and this has led many to question why they have genders in the first place, or why the females look so different from the males. This is something believed to be due to Yera's own discretion, and can be seen in gender rolls between the two sexes. Males typically are born knowing how to process certain materials, and building procedures, while females tend to be born knowing where and how to find, excavate and handle precious materials. From the viewpoint of other races, it's seen that the females have more a hunter roll, finding materials for the family, and the males are better equipped to actually meld the materials. Upon birth, the metal gains unnatural enchantments, and grows as the Dwarf grows. Because of this, Dwarves aren't born with adult bodies, but instead grow up just like almost every other race in Zeras.
Something many races find humorous is how Dwarves get their nourishment: they run off beer. Among the skills they are born with, brewing is one of them, and beer is something Dwarves take extremely seriously. Granted, they can run for quite a while (such as a month) without this nourishment, and most liquids can substitute in the place of beer, but without it their joints become stiff, their thinking gets foggy, and they eventually go into a state of indefinite suspension from which only beer can revive them. No one's really sure how long this state of suspension can last, but there HAVE been incidents of Dwarfs getting lost in mine shafts for decades, and a sip of a stout has snapped them back to life.
As for their actual lifespan, Dwarves can live a long, long time. Since their entire body is the vessel of their spirit, death results from destruction of the body as a whole, or sometimes when a dwarf goes into suspension after a couple hundred years of life, they just never wake up. It's unknown if a Dwarf can transfer their spirit from one constructed body to another, it's never been tried due to safety regulations, but losing a limb isn't a terribly huge deal to a dwarf; they can get a new one to replace it. Some Dwarves take this to their advantage to give themselves all sorts of kooky contraptions and prosthetic limbs.
Dwarves are a society of engineers. They are born with the intrinsic knowledge of how to construct things, meld materials and organize teams to accomplish goals in an efficient manner. Where many nations have a king, Dwarves have a council of project managers who try to work together to coordinate funding, project attention and overall progress. Dwarves are all about progress, and issues of civil disobedience or ethics rarely pop up due to the beliefs and knowledge Dwarves are born with. Dwarves typically pick up one of the trades of their parents, and join the associated unions and guilds for those unions. However, their society doesn't stifle those who take an interest in something outside their parent's skills, like many of the more strict caste systems of the other races. Their relationship with the Trolls is close enough that the two consider themselves to be the same race, and Trolls fill every spectrum of their social structure as well, but the details of that relationship are in the wiki article for trolls.
However, one thing that both the Dwarfs and Trolls struggle with is that while they have intrinsic knowledge of how to build things and engineering procedures…they have no knowledge of math, science, physics or chemistry. They are fully aware of this limitation, and most innovation in their procedures has come from dangerous trial and error experiments, and attempts to reverse engineer their own 'common sense' thoughts into terms of numbers and science. Attempts at this have been slow, and some of their kind have migrated to Terminus to attempt to research this phenomena with the help of the other best and brightest of the world's academia.
Regardless, the Dwarven and Troll homeland is a marvel to travelers; found in the northern mountains of Zeras, their capitol city, Mekgaard, is a sprawling, steam powered metropolis of steel and earth and wood that stretches all through the mountain peaks and into the bellows of the earth. It is the result of centuries of expansion and innovation, and to many outsiders appears as more of a well oiled machine than a thriving city.
While the Dwarves and Trolls, on a whole, are a country of inventors, they are not without a standing militia force. The Northern Corp of Engineers, as they are called, is considered one of the most feared military forces in the world. Not since early wars of attrition with the Elves and the Kitsune have enemy forces attempted to march on Dwarven territory with hostile intentions, because few who do survive. The combination of harsh weather environments, territorial advantage, mechanical superiority and Dwarven defensive systems allow them to literally create an iron curtain between their homeland and the outside world in times of conflict.
Nifty world contributions
- The largest accomplishment of the Dwarves and Trolls is their steam train enterprise, which they are rapidly expanding around Zeras in this time of peace. As of now, Mekgaard and Terminus are linked, and much of the Kitsune empire has been added to the rails as well.
- After unknown amounts of trial and error, Dwarvish love of metal and Trollish love of explosions has given birth to the Dwarven Hand Cannon; stat wise, it's equivalent to a crossbow with a bit shorter range and a damage dice up.
- Likewise, the love of booze and explosions has created another nifty invention: Dwarven firewater. Function as hand gernades/tnt/general explosives, canonically is a small little wooden keg filled with alcohol that explodes when lit with a flame and hit with a concussive force (such as throwing it after lighting a wick). Doubles as a tasty beverage.
Relations with Other Races
These relations also apply for trolls, as the Dwarven and Troll nation consider themselves one people.
Elves: Due to an unfortunate accident and political bumble on the side of the Dwarves shortly after first encounter with the Elves that led to
the world's first major war, relationship with the Elves has always been iffy. Things have improved in the past hundred years or so after
recent political changes and shifts, but things are still shaky. The extension of the steam trains to Terminus went a long way in improving relationships. The two races aren't exactly on the best of terms, but they are not enemies. It helps that Dwarves are fairly humble around Elves, since the entire fiasco WAS their fault.
Humans: Humans, as they are with most races, are on good terms with the Dwarves. Humans who have a strong interest in invention are welcome in Mekgaard, and are treated as equals.
Kitsunes: Dwarves are distrustful of Kitsunes on principal of the most recent war, where the Kitsune Empire tried to invade Mekgaard. The campaign ended miserably for the Kitsune Empire, but the events were recent enough to make most Dwarves and Trolls very very cautious when dealing with Kitsunes. They realize this is largely unfair, since the average Kitsune isn't really a bad person, and try to be as civil as possible, but things are still too recent for them to be on good terms.
Goblins: other than science and booze, one of the Dwarves' biggest loves is music. This has led to Goblins and Dwarves being huge trading partners, and transactions of customized puppets for instruments is very common. Overall, they are on good terms, as the Goblins are with everyone.
Orcs: A tribe of Orcs lives fairly close to Mekgaard, in the forested region of the northern continent. One would immediately expect that relationships between the two would be sour, but the Dwarven beliefs in order and civility have kept things fairly civil. The two have agreements that if the Dwarves need lumber, they need to plant and care for 2 trees for every 1 they take, and in times of emergency the Orcs will rally with the Corp of Engineers to mount defenses in their homeland. They also tend to celebrate festivities together as allied peoples. This agreement is something most other Orc tribes in the land know of, and as a whole Orcs are way friendlier to Trolls and Dwarves than they are other races. As in, they won't capture/kill/maim them on sight too deep into their territory.
Lithians: Lithians tend to dislike Dwarfs and Trolls based on their lack of flesh and consider their obsession with creation and science sacrilegious. Because of this, Dwarves and Trolls generally aren't fond of Lithians, but won't dislike an individual unless they go on a science hating tirade first.