Dwarves are short, stocky humanoids evolved (one could
even say 'engineered') to live in underground
environments. Their preferred habitats are
mountainous areas, but a Dwarf can survive anywhere
that a Human can: however, their fertility suffers
when out of their normal range. Dwarves have a
standard proportion of Soldiers and Saints to the rest
of the population.
The Dwarves' primary Archangel is David, their creator (known to them as Khedzak). Both Novalis and Jean have been involved in shaping their culture: the former has spun off the separate race of Gnomes and the latter has provided the Dwarves with some of their superior engineering knowledge. Most of the War faction will cheerfully recruit Dwarven Soldiers.
Characteristics, Bonuses and Flaws
Dwarf characters are built on 5 Forces: however, all adult Dwarves have a minimum Strength of 4 and Will of 3 (before racial bonuses). This will effectively dictate that Dwarves allocate 2 of their starting Forces to Corporeal. Maximum number of Forces for Saints and Blessed Souls: 15.
Dwarves have two major racial advantages: first, Dwarves may raise their Strength and Will by a combined total of 4 (at least one point must be allocated to each). Also, the race has an innate propensity towards craftsmanship: Dwarves add double their Corporeal Forces to Craft Skills (the determination of what constitutes a Craft Skill is forthcoming). The average lifespan is roughly four centuries. Total points: 9.
Unfortunately, the visual sense of Dwarves is not advanced by most surface-dwellers: they suffer from Damaged Sense (Vision)/1. This Disadvantage also gives them a -2 to most Ranged Weapon skills. They also suffer from a -1 to movement rates, due to their shorter legs. Note, however, that (unlike 'standard' fantasy Dwarves) this race does not suffer from Greediness: their creator finds the notion absolutely appalling. Total points: -5.
Recommended skills: Ranged Weapon (axe or pick), Survival (caverns), various Craft Skills
Total Cost: 4.
Dwarves are very stoic individuals, thanks to the efforts of their patron Archangel. Dwarves prize toughness and steadiness above most other qualities: their ability to persevere under the most adverse conditions is half due to genetic hardwiring and half due to sheer bloody-mindedness. The word "whiney" is a killing insult in Dwarven.
Dwarves tend to reflect their creator in many ways: like David/Khedzak, they tend to be blunt, focused, uninterested in small talk, generous to their friends and absolutely merciless to their foes. Dwarves do not forget favors or slights: in fact, Dwarves rarely forget anything that has been done to themselves or their race. They may forgive slightly more often than a 'standard' Dwarf, but they do not ever, ever forget.
Dwarven culture revolves around craftsmanship: their cultural heroes are mostly artisans, not administrators or fighters. There is a definite social hierarchy, which looks (to Human eyes) like a modified ogliarchy heavily influenced by meritocratic beliefs. There is a remarkably low amount of social unrest, however: social services among Dwarves are unparalleled among the Unbroken Races and their political system has zero tolerance for fools in high places. Their relatively few malcontents usually find a more congenial atmosphere in Human/Elven society - or join the War.
Dwarven "nations" are somewhat amorphous entities: in general, they tend to be loose collections of city-states in any given mountain range. There has never been a Dwarven Empire, due mostly to a distinct lack of interest in setting one up. However, all Dwarven nations mint to the same coinage, enjoy roughly the same laws and social customs, speak the same language and come to each other's aid in time of war, so the wry Elven description of Dwarvendom as the Empireless Empire is actually fairly apt.
Despite rumors to the contrary (found mostly in less cosmopolitan areas), Dwarven females are not superficially indistinguishable from the males. These rumors tend to spring from the fact that sexism is virtually unknown in Dwarven society: ability is the determining factor for social mobility. Also, most 'malcontents' tend to be male, making them more likely to be encountered by surface races.
Dwarves have evolved to live underground, but can easily adapt to surface conditions. This is due directly to their creator: David had no intention of handicapping his charges. Thus, Dwarves can eat surface food, deal with direct sunlight and have no universal fear of open spaces. However, a Dwarf's fertility does drastically drop when not living in their original habitats: David is still working on the problem.
Role in the War
Dwarves, being somewhat isolated from other races, enjoy a somewhat more intimate relationship with their patron Archangel. David has even been known to manifest himself among the mundane Dwarven population (something not often done by other Archangels): he also has significantly less trouble than others do with misguided attempts to worship him. Aside from other things, this means that Dwarven nations will often be overtly involved in the War, acting as a potent corporeal weapon.
David divides his Dwarven Soldiers into two groups: Jadzhack ("hammers") and Hredzik ("anvils"). The Jadzhackim all either have the Armor Attunement or high levels of the Corporeal Song of Form (or both), and usually serve straightforward combat roles. Jadzhackim, being corporeal, are not s u b ject to David's dissonance conditions, so they are often the spearhead of attacks. There is a s u b group (Imjadhack, or "picks") that emulates their patron by fighting nude (but naturally armored): their ability to break lines through their use of shock tactics is legendary. Hredzikim have a less violent role: they universally have the Geomancy Attunement (plus the Geomancy skill), and serve as advisors and assistants to mundane Dwarven rulers. Their innate abilities also make them excellent scouts for their race's steady expansion underground.
Dwarves and Hell
The Princes would very much like to break the Dwarves, but their unique relationship with David makes that difficult. Diabolicalism is a capital crime in every Dwarven nation - and, unlike certain Human nations, the Dwarves *mean* it. The one time that Hell managed to corrupt an entire city-state ended ... badly. Even the mountain that sheltered said city-state isn't there anymore.
Still, cults live on in secret. For the most part, Malphas and Vapula are the most successful: the former has been fighting David for a long time and the latter can offer the most interesting toys to his servants. Baal gets a goodly number of Dwarven 'malcontents', too.
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