The betrayal of Valyngaard is a shadow looming over every Free Dwarf. The Red Prince, heir to the throne of the last great dwarven kingdom, broke his oath of loyalty to his brother the King, and Valyngaard fell as a result. Because of this, in the deep heart of each and every Free Dwarf burns the knowledge of what they have lost. That fire smolders in every Dwarven heart and is a driving force for them. This also means that Dwarves take oaths very seriously and to break an oath made is taboo.
When the menace of the Red Death fell upon the Land, many Dwarves were driven into hiding once again, attempting to evade the blades of men who blamed them for the plague. The dwarves gathered together, hiding wherever they could find refuge, Dwarves once again, have found themselves wary of strangers and those they do not know.
Five Things to Remember about Free Dwarves
- Tradition and Custom are EVERYTHING
- The dwarves cling hard to the traditions, customs, tales and memories of their lost glory. Honoring those who have past is deeply ingrained into dwarven culture.
- Reclaim the Lost; Rebuild the Broken; Refuse Despair.
- This simple chant forms the core of many dwarven lives in Brittanis. They have dedicated themselves to slowly, methodically reclaiming that which has been lost in the last century—the knowledge, magic, and settlements of Valyngaard as well as their own racial pride and esteem. Dwarves understand that in order to preserve their way of life there must be groups and settlements of dwarves working together for the benefit of everyone.
- Loyalty Is Like Stone.
- The Free Dwarves take loyalty especially seriously, in particular the oaths of loyalty binding a lord and vassal.
- Words Are Like Wind.
- A dwarf looks to see how a person acts and behaves to judge whether they hold to their oaths, not the words they say. The belief of the dwarves is that feelings, emotions and thoughts on a matter are not positive or negative. It is only when thought becomes behavior or action that it becomes good or ill.
- Gregarious and Giving
- While more compact in stature, what they lack in size, they make up for in voice and song. Telling the tales of those gone past or ensuring everyone who hears knows how large the Fomorian REALLY was, all stories are good Dwarf stories. Giving of their time and their skill, Dwarves share what they dare. Selfishness is considered the worst vice; putting your own good ahead of the good of the community, a terrible crime. The dwarves of Valyngaard were well-known for their greed and avarice for material wealth. While this trait still exists for the Free Dwarves, large portions of individual wealth is put toward the good of the community and rebuilding what was lost.
[GAME RULES LINK HERE]
CLARIFICATION- Cross species fertility is not possible in Brittanis. Each species can only reproduce with their own species. Interracial couples can and do exist but those couples can not produce biological offspring with each other. The parts fit, but children are not possible.
- Dwarves have strong families of small size. Compared to humans, dwarven birth numbers are low. Dwarves typically only give birth to one child at a time, however twins are becoming more common place since the fall of Valyngaard.
Dwarven Archetypal Heroic Virtues
NOTE: These are not required for a player to take; these are simply the most common virtues among the Free Dwarf culture)
- INDUSTRY is a common virtue for Free Dwarves because productive members of society are necessary in order to keep our culture alive and to rebuild what has been lost.
- LOYALTY is a common virtue for Free Dwarves because the Red Prince broke his oaths and thus Valyngaard fell -- Free Dwarves regard oaths and promises to each other with an almost religious zeal.
- ETIQUETTE is a common virtue for Free Dwarves because… the free dwarves have dedicated themselves to slowly and methodically rebuilding what has been lost; they are people who make plans and carry them out with meticulous fervor.
Costume & Kit
NOTE: There are no body type, height/weight, hair color or or skin color descriptions for any of the species of Brittanis. Costuming and kit are the way to demonstrate and roleplay your Ancestry. This is intentional. Play what you want to play.
- Ancestry band: Free Dwarves must wear an Ancestry band of BROWN fabric. These must be worn on the left forearm and may not be less than 3 inches wide.
- Male dwarves are famed for their beards, though younger generations have adopted the habit of clipping them short. Regardless, a dwarf’s beard is always neatly kept and cared for. Dwarven males are NOT allowed to grow a beard until they have achieved the age of majority.
- Dwarven females are not shy or dainty creatures. Dwarven women are proud, stubborn (strong of will) and fiercely independent. DWARVEN FEMALES DO NOT HAVE FACIAL HAIR. Female dwarves keep their hair bound and braided by ancient custom, and decorate their faces with tattoos designating their social status. They take pride in long, luxurious hair plaited or braided into intricate knots and styles. However, just as males are not allowed to grow a beard until they have achieved the age of majority, females likewise wear their hair UNBOUND until they are considered adults.
- It is POSSIBLE to play a dwarf male without a beard or a dwarf female with short hair, but you will be considered an adolescent by any other dwarf you meet.
- Free dwarf garments are an expression of dwarven culture, and above all functional. Leather and heavy linen are common materials for their beauty and durability. Long or flowing garments, wide sleeves, and fragile fabrics are only found in the formal attire of nobles and the ceremonial garments of the clergy.
- Weapons/Shields: Battle Axes, picks and hammers are by far the most common of dwarven weapons. Swords and other weapons do exist, they are simply less common—Nearly every dwarf carries a heavy dagger or long-knife.
- Shields are almost as common as axes. Square or hexagonal shields are the most common
- Armor: It is considered dishonorable for a dwarf to carry weapons or armor not crafted by his own people; a dwarf would rather carry an iron battleaxe crafted by a dwarven smith than a human-made longsword of supposedly higher quality. This DOES NOT apply to magic items and artifacts,
- Intricate engraving, precious metal inlays, and runic enhancements are so common as to be expected from dwarven armor. Dwarven weapons and armor are always well-kept and maintained.
Free Dwarf garments are: 1. An expression of dwarven culture and 2. Functional
- Dark colors and rich earth-tones: forest green, midnight blue, deep purple, blood reds, burnt oranges, etc.
- Every shade of grey, brown, and black known to exist flourishes in dwarven fashion
- Leather is the most common dwarven material for outer garments.
- Cotton, linen and fine wool are all worn in combination as base layers.
- Gold or silver metallic accents to contrast the dark colors
- Gems or stones worked into clothing and weapons/armor
- Long or flowing garments, wide sleeves, and fragile fabrics are only found in the formal attire of nobles and the ceremonial garments of the clergy.
Hardy. Resolute. Determined. And yes, sometimes stubborn. The Dwarves are a people who have endured and like the fires of the forge, even the smallest embers of determination can be fanned into the flames of greatness.
Though not as long lived as the elves, Dwarves live far longer than humans. Their children mature at the same rate as humans, but they enjoy a much longer adulthood before age begins to affect them. The typical life-span of a dwarf averages around 150 years.
All Free Dwarves cling tightly to the naming conventions of their ancestors, just like they cling to the rest of their culture. Male names are typically two syllables, usually with a strong F, B, or TH sound in the beginning syllable. Female names tend to have more length, and make much use of the same kind of sounds as male names, but do so associated with a vowel, such as ISS, YLLA, and so on.
FIRST NAMES: Dwarves are given a birth name, after having completed their right of passage in adolescence they are allowed to choose, if they so wish, a new name for themselves to keep for the rest of their lives.
- Clan or Berm names: If a dwarf is released from their family clan by way of marriage or a merger of Clans/Berms by Leadership, they are free to take on the name of their new Clan or Berm that they join. Note that because dwarves do not account for gender in marriages, whichever spouse LEAVES their home to live with their spouse’s clan is the spouse that takes the name of the clan they go to be a part of.
- ex. Born: Tallia Fellfire;
- after Rite of Passage: Tayvria Fellfire of Clan ForgeFire
- After Marriage: Tayvria Fellfire of Clan Stoneskull
- Upon swearing to a different Clan: Tayvria Fellfire of Clan Cornerstone
The Grimstone Oath
“Grimstone” is a term used by the Free Dwarves to designate those who have forsaken their loyalty to a Clan, either voluntarily or as punishment for some offense against their Clan as a whole. Some Free Dwarves refer to “Clan Grimstone” in mocking terms, but it is not a term of respect, but rather a reminder that those dwarves who carry the Grimstone name have no place in dwarven society.
Grimstones falls outside the realm of normal Dwarven clan rank and hierarchy. The Grimstone name is one that is sometimes taken voluntarily, and can be taken by any member from any clan. Those dwarves who so chose to become Grimstones do so in order to preserve to honor of their family/house/clan in the event that they must act or take upon themselves duties that by traditional dwarven custom would be considered dishonorable.
Upon taking the Grimstone Oath, a dwarf is considered a member of no Clan and for all intents and purposes dead to the family they once knew. In cases where a dwarf is exiled and named Grimstone, some clans even hold a funeral for the Grimstone, symbolically mourning their lost family member.
Those who choose to take on the mantle of Grimstone do so with the knowledge that they can not marry, hold rank under dwarven culture, nor participate in dwarven community life in any way, as to do so would bring shame and dishonor to their family.
In order to become a Grimstone a dwarf must go through a ritual that releases them from all family, clan, and house oaths.They then swear never to take a family and declare themselves classless.
The decision to become Grimstone is not one that any dwarf ever takes lightly, for choosing to take on the mantle of Grimstone means to be outside of the unity of Dwarven society, and to be looked down upon, usually as one who is a criminal or without honor, regardless of how the name was earned. While Grimstones might not be actively shunned, neither are they openly accepted or welcome among the other Dwarven clans, and many Grimstones are lone wanderers who have no family or home.
The House of Ghorn dominates nearly all Free Dwarf religious life. Ghorn is the primary deity worshiped by the dwarves, followed by his consort Sarai and their son Dagmar. This is interesting in that it crosses the lines between the White Court and the Three Sisters, but the dwarves see no heresy in this-- Ghorn represents the Earth, Sarai the Air and Water, and Dagmar the burning fire that all fuel dwarven community life. It is of note, though, that after the fall of Valyngaard a growing number of Free Dwarves turned to worship of Eldrea because of her gifts to hunt infernals.
Dwarves assume hospitality lasts until the next dawn. Beyond that, a host is free to extend an offer of continued hospitality or expel any unwanted guests.
Like all cultures, the Dwarves use hospitality as a means of collective self-preservation. Knowing that you have at least shelter awaiting you at the nearest settlement, regardless of whether they end up as friends or enemies, facilitates travel and trade in a monster-haunted landscape.
To excel at hospitality means that a Dwarf knows how to garner what a visitor may have to offer; whether it be in trade, in information, in establishing a link to other resources. It is common for Dwarven hosts to offer their own platter and vessel as a means of good faith and to make a shared connection.
Dwarves break their social structure down into Clans, then specialized Berm (sub-clans) and finally extended family groupings.
- Several generations living in one household, working and living together: grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins. Each dwarven clan is known for having a set of skills they have mastered, with each Berm of the main clan focusing on things that the larger clan will need to survive.
- Elders: Respect for elders is strong. Those who have survived in the harsh world deserve that respect. Many dwarven settlements or groups will appoint the eldest among them as a kind of advisor, and the elder can serve as a confidant. This is not a leadership or authoritative position, but rather one of guidance and advisement-- and only when an elder dwarf has proven themselves worthy of such a position.
- Dwarven Moots: Moots are gatherings of great significance in Dwarven society. Moots are called for only the most important of events and are an ingathering of all the clans.
- 125 AR- The Matchmaker calls the first Dwarf Moot in 200+ years in response to the burning of Calderon and the escalating violence against the dwarves.