The New Divine Order
From: A Study of Dwarves, by Anzoite Scholar Snorni Velson
The history of mankind has been marked by the passage of many kingdoms and empires. Humanity is no stranger to either the concept or execution of a vast nation that is under the control of a single individual. It is a concept, a method of organization, that waxes and wanes with human evolution… but one that has never truly faded.
As best we can tell, the dwarves never had anything else. No valid source shows they have ever dabbled in democracy, republic, or magocracy. The Dwarven race did not reach the surface as anything less than a united race, all answered to the High Queen, all marching beneath the same banner. This is both their greatest strength and greatest weakness; homogeny and a dearth of understanding outside their chosen interest of conquest. Still, it would be a mistake to view them as anything less than the single greatest threat to mankind’s dominance of second earth.
First let me dispel the somewhat common notion that all dwarves are the same (though homogeny is their biggest weakness), and there are in fact dwarves outside the Empire… there are even entire dwarven colonies that claim independence from it. However, it is worth noting that they are few in number and by necessity notably far from the Empire’s borders. Dwarves take secession seriously, and would much rather rule a razed city and devastated landscape than relinquish control over it.
To understand recent dwarven military aggression on the surface of second earth, it is important to look beyond the populist belief that they have somehow been provoked. That humans, serpentfolk, and orcs have driven them to the warpath through our actions. Rather, we need to look at the underlying mindset of the Dwarven people.
Recognize that the average dwarf lives a remarkably productive and healthy life. He is fit from a life of rigorous military training and work, and his government has a relatively generous standard of living. It is a society that rewards the talented and hard-working and punishes the lazy and incompetent. In the Empire, people get what they deserve, and those who work do not lack shelter, clothing, or food. Next, dwarven cities throng with foreign merchants, travelers, and peddlers of all sorts, who bring news from across the world. They bring tales about the constant chaos in the midlands and kesh, as well as the inherent weakness in the Southlands and Lowlands. They come to the conclusion that most of the subjects of such realms are unhappy and destitute or poorly defended from orcs and serpentfolk. Then they simply look at their own Empire and make comparisons.
Dwarven history is often biased, but it easy to see some of the truth behind the quasi ancestor worship. During the centuries of the Orc Migrations, the Dwarven hosts universally held the line against the onslaught. Where mankind faltered and fellback, Dwarves fought on. When humanity abandoned swathes of territory to the orc arrivals, the Dwarves slowly reclaimed all lost ground. The dwarves look at the world and conclude, with some evidence, that it would be better if they were in charge. People would know their place, it would be an ordered society, a powerful society… it would also be intolerably stagnant.
Dwarves are sometimes called stupid, although this is unfair. Dwarves are not senseless nor are they incapable of being creative or inventive. But they do have trouble innovating. They have trouble adapting to new ideas, methodologies, and technologies unless the newfangled thing offers a clear and obvious advantage. Dwarven engineers, politicians, alchemists, and artisans are simply far less cavalier than their human and goblin counterparts. This attitude gives them a certain stubborn belligerence. Dwarves know what they know, and prefer minute advancements too existing inventions and frameworks rather than plunging in to uncharted waters.
While dwarves cling to tried and methods, and value reliability over innovative performance; Dwarven technological brilliance is often at its most impressive when it comes to scale and craftsmanship. Dwarven walls are thicker, their shields sturdier, their armor more intricate, their roads more even, their bridges longer, their buildings everlasting… dwarves may not be at the cutting edge of the technology race but they are slowly and steadily pushing to advance the technology they do have.
It has been said that dwarves fortify every city they own. A better statement would be that dwarves fortify everything they build. They have a natural inclination to build from stone, have distaste for large windows, and prefer to build structures that will last the test of time. For better or for worse dwarves have an inclination to do things well, rather than do them quickly. Their expansion has always been slow, but once they claim a new area, they intend to hold it.
Dwarves regard basic military competence as a standard requirement of any child’s education. Every dwarf learns to wield and axe and function in a shieldwall. Every dwarf learns how to maintain and use a crossbow. While the standing army seems small at first glance, the realization that every adult citizen is a trained member of the city militia makes assaulting any dwarven settlement a daunting prospect.
If dwarves have a weakness it is in their force composition. During the Long Night dwarves fought almost exclusively in the caves and tunnels far below the surface, and even in the modern age most dwarven military efforts are spent below ground. The dwarven tactica calls for infantry, and the star of their military is the well trained and well equipped infantryman. While this soldier is incomparable in tunnel fighting, siege warfare, and the crash of the infantry line, modern war on the surface is not usually won by infantry. Cavalry, artillery, monsters, and magic play an equal if not greater role in deciding who wins a battle… and dwarves have struggled to match the armies of other races in each of these areas.
Dwarven armies do not have cavalry. It is one thing to learn to stay on a horse or donkey moving at a trudging walk, but something else entirely to learn to ride at a full gallop and use a sword, lance, and bow from horseback. Cavalrymen are not trained; it requires almost a lifelong commitment to learn all the skills that go into producing these soldiers. Nations like Levia or wandering orc tribes have to focus their entire culture to produce enough people with the required training to consistently field large groups of cavalry.
Dwarven armies rarely field monsters. While Dwarves can occasionally bolster their forces with giant mushroommen or hunting hounds, these are always few and far between, especially compared to orc or serpentfolk armies which throng with beasts of all kinds.
Dwarven history and mythology begins just prior to Ragnarok. Supposedly the god (name lost) of Earth, created 900 Dwarven women and one hundred Dwarven men, and told them to create an army to fight the upcoming age of strife.
Yes, the Dwarven creation myth begins with several decades of orgies mixed with occasional bouts of military training. Then at the start of Ragnarok Dwarven Legions marched into the underworld to do battle with legions of Demon things and other Ragnarok horrors. When second Earth was created the Dwarven Legions found themselves scattered across the world below, and set about finding each other and beginning their slow migration to the surface and continuing their war with all the other races below the surface. Naturally no non dwarven sources available to me reference these events.
A Study of Dwarves, by Anzoite Scholar Snorni Velson
In the wake of the Teotl War (what Dwarves call the Unification War), Dwarves have embraced the New Order, abandoning most of their early proto-pantheon. While a full study of Dwarven theology and worship deserves its own paper, and is far beyond the scope of this document. I shall only mention here their heretical dismissal of Anzo. Records of early missionary work, all from reliable Anzoite sources, often clash with Dwarven accounts describing exactly why Anzo is so shunned. Nonetheless broad strokes can be taken of early events that have led to the modern sacrilegious state of affairs in the Dwarven Empire.
On the surface, Dwarves should be relatively easy converts to Anzo-ism. They have a deep and profound reverence for their ancestors, a love of family, and patriotism bordering fanaticism in defense of their cities and communities. All things that fit comfortably in the Anzoite faith. The struggle has always been with getting dwarves to accept the role of the father, mother, and child, key and inviolable truths of Anzo. Dwarves, in their never sufficiently damned lust for war and conquest, have evolved a society where the minimum amount of involvement possible is required by parents to raise their children. A culture where having children is seen as good (more fodder for the legions), but raising them is left to the care of Dwarven elders, specialist teachers, and slaves. Make no mistake, Dwarven culture is antithetical to ours as orc, goblin, or serpentfolk, and must be changed for its own good.
Sex, Marriage, Families, and Children
Dwarves have a remarkably casual attitude toward sex that stems from their heretical family structure. Instead of honoring the father as head of the family, the progenitor and lord of his children, Dwarves trace lineage along the matrilineal line. Further heresy yet abounds, dwarves do not live in true family units, but rather live in Houses, great fortified estates that has anywhere from dozens to hundreds, or even thousands of dwarves, all sharing a common female ancestor. Children are raised communally, often having no idea who their father is, and even interactions with their mother are likely to be little different than interactions with other older members of the household. To further confound the matter, most Houses are knit across the empire into Clans, familial alliances of dwarven Houses. While it would be wrong to state that dwarves do not care about their immediate families, the fact remains that most dwarves affiliate more strongly with their extended families than their (in the Anzoite sense) true family.
Because dwarves have no personal responsibility toward their children, they regard sex as little more than an entertaining pastime. Women are expected to have children for the good of the house, although there does not seem to be any specific requirement. Perusing Dwarven census and population records shows that most dwarven women have about fourteen children over the course of their life. An average of about one every twelve years or so between achieving adulthood and becoming infertile do to age. These children are then, more or less, dropped off at the clan nursery with no real responsibility to be had on part of the parents.
Marriage is an alien concept to dwarves, and the word translates into dwarven as breeding contract. This is a practice where a man (usually for a fee) agrees to sire a child on a specific woman. Usually this is done when a man is particularly famous or well-known and a different House or Clan wants the next generation of its member to have that particular skill. For instance, if Clan Gloomstone acquires ownership of a forest, they may seek to arrange a set of breeding contracts with successful lumberjacks or foresters from another clan.
The Halfling Liberation Front
When visiting a Dwarven city, one of the first things you’ll notice is the sheer number of halflings running about. While many human cities and settlements have large Halfling populations, what most people aren’t aware of is that before the Orc Migrations there were no halflings in the Dwarven Empire.
During the Migrations, as armies of greenskins ravaged the Lowlands, Midlands, and the area that would become the Levian Empire, halflings fled from human civilization. Many winding up at the doorsteps of the emerging Dwarven Empire. It’s hard to be certain when exactly the idea of having a permanent undercast of halflings occurred to the dwarves, but I believe it started with the best of intentions. Were they not Dwarves, a warrior race, and wasn’t it their duty to fight the rampaging armies of lesser races like orcs and serpentfolk? Logically then, wasn’t it their responsibility to shelter lesser races? And if it was their burden to protect the lesser race, should not the lesser race serve them?
Over the centuries halflings have been moved to the bottom rung in Dwarven society. They are barred from military service or government office, and a vast majority are owned outright by various Houses (rarely individuals). While some halflings are free subjects of the empire, having the right to travel, engage in business, and enjoying most of the rights of dwarven citizens, they are a distinct minority of the halfling population living in the empire.
Relations between the two races have always been somewhat mixed. While dwarves respect the hard work halflings put forth and genuinely value the fact that having them as servants frees fellow dwarves from such menial tasks… there is none the less an air of patronization, a belief that Halflings could not survive without Dwarven protection (despite a vast Halfling population that does just that.) As for the halflings, while they appreciate their relatively stable and healthy lifestyle, and find it vastly preferable to what life would be like in orc or serpentfolk ruled areas, many are nonetheless unsatisfied with eternal servitude.
Halflings in the Empire do not particularly wish to leave, but rather desire to be on more equal footing with the Dwarves they’ve spent a thousand years living and working beside. Unfortunately they aren’t particularly sure how to go about it. Halflings are not built for combat. They’re smaller, slower, and notably more frail than dwarves (or anyone), and unlike dwarves have never had a culture that glorified acts of valor or bravado. Your average Halfling has a sensible desire to preserve his own skin. Yet most dwarves do not feel they owe their halflings servants anything. Didn’t the halflings ask for their protection? Haven’t dwarven warriors fought and died to protect them for nearly a thousand years? What more do they want?
Records show that there have been various halfling rebellions, criminal organizations, and suffrage movements… though most were relatively minor and are either ignored by the queens and houses, or put down hard by dwarven soldiers.
Race Relations (Still in Progress)
• Orc- The only adequate word is contempt. Dwarves see orcs as crude, primitive, uneducated… a race of brigands forever leeching of the hard work of their betters. Dwarves make a point to put down any orc encampment that strays too close to the Empire, and while small groups and individual orcs can pass through Dwarven territory as merchants or mercenaries, it is difficult to escape the sneers, prejudice, and sheer derision dwarven society holds them in.
• Goblin- Dwarves and Goblins have a surprisingly cordial relationship. Largely stemming from their inability to deal with the other in a large scale fashion. Dwarves currently have no ability to challenge goblin naval dominance and no plans to acquire a fleet necessary to even make the attempt. No Goblin admiral has the ability or inclination to try and launch a serious siege of a dwarven settlement. While their vastly different ideas about how the world should and function of government will prevent the Empire from ever being close to any of the Fleets (or vice versa), individual dwarves and goblins often get along surprisingly well.
• Races of the World Below
Dwarf Mechanics 2.0:
• Type: Humanoid (0RP)
• Size: Medium (0RP)
• Speed: -20 Slow (-1RP) -Never Modified by equipment or encumbrance
• Attribute Standard: (0RP) +2 Constitution, +2 Wisdom, -2 Intelligence: Dwarves are hardy, and have a natural inclination toward patience and thinking problems through, however they can be stubborn and have trouble adapting to new ideas.
• Ability Score Traits: Advanced Constitution (4RP) +2 Con
• Bond to Land (2 RP) Underground: Caverns, Dungeons, Sewers, etc, +2 AC while fighting in this environment
• Mountaineer (1RP) Members of this race are immune to altitude sickness and do not lose their Dexterity bonus to AC when making Climb checks or Acrobatics checks to cross narrow or slippery surfaces.
• Weapon Familiarity (1RP) Battleaxes and Crossbow
• Darkvision (2RP) 60Feet
• Cave Dweller (1RP) – Members of this race gain a +1 bonus on Knowledge (dungeoneering) and Survival checks made underground.