Friday, April 21, 2017

The Dwarves of Lakeport

OKay Game Fans, we’re adding another piece of the puzzle to my Lakeport Homebrewed Setting.  The world is massive, and is so big that no one short of the Gods (and they’re not telling) how big it exactly is.  I’ll cover an actual breakdown of the continent in another article, but today we’re going to talk about how the races differ in terms of the core Dungeons and Dragons rules.  Some of the changes are very minor, but some of them are massive in terms of culture, history, and there are rule changes that go with them.  Today i’m going to start with the Dwarves.  


Now the Dwarves themselves are part of a larger racial group known as the Giant’s brood.  When the first giants and their God found the world, the set about building a small fortress far north of the Fey that dominated the great forest.  High mountains and the clouds themselves were their demense, and eventually, they started to unlock the secrets of arcane magic.  This study required all of their time, and so they bent their prodigious arcane might to creating servants to carry out the little things they needed (like food, water, and materials for their research).  So they gathered Rock, Clay, Soil, and the Sweat of their own brow.  From the pieces of Rock, they hammered away and chiseled the first Dwarves, whom they tasked with digging deep into the earth and bringing its riches to the surface.  From the clay they shaped the delicate hands of the Gnomes, who would turn the raw material into finery and artifice for the arcane works of their giant masters.  The Soil was given a life of its own, and these first halflings were given the task of feeding their fellow servants (and giant masters) and managing the resources that the Dwarves and Gnomes used and created.  Finally, from the sweat of their own brow, they created the Ogres to watch over the mines and vaults that their minions lived in, and to brutally enforce order if it were needed.  

This arrangement worked for many hundreds of years until the War between the Fey and Me’Ah’Chin shook the foundations of the world.  The Dwarves, Gnomes, and Halflings decided that they wanted to be free, and it took a violent revolution to break the cycle of their giant overlords.  That war had many terrible battles, and all three races paid a high price for their emancipation.  Finally, at the War’s end, the Giant’s brood were freed from slavery, and took their place on the surface world, finally seeing the sun for the first time.  

They settled in the southern mountains (eventually the Ironheart Peaks) far from the vaults they’d been created in in the North.  They dig the mountains deep and extract most of the raw materials used by the rest of the folk in the world.  The Dwarven Thanes elect a high council in Mournstone Hall (in the center of the Iron Peaks), who help direct Dwarven projects and agendas.  


Dwarves look very much like their traditional fantasy kin with one major exception.  Dwarves were carved from the stone of the world itself, and share many physical similarities.  Dwarven skin is the texture of smooth polished stone.  Their hair and beards are often metallic or made of gemstones, and their eyes are pools of liquid metal.  Any number of potential color combinations are possible, though the Dwarven Clans themselves tend to follow one specific color patterning, depending on the Clan.  


Dwarves are astonishingly optimistic.  Dwarves have a saying that translates to “Can You Dig It?” which represents a host of meanings within the Dwarven culture, but most of the time it’s a call to action or a rallying cry.  The Dwarves have yet to meet a cavern they couldn’t dig, a vein they couldn’t extract, or a fortress they couldn’t put together.  This optimism is either hopelessly infectious, and they rub off positively on their neighbors, or it’s cloying and they annoy everyone (that’s not a dwarf) around them to the point of exasperation.  


Most Dwarves fall into one of seven major clan holds that draw their origin from the first seven Dwarves created by the Giants.  These seven were used as prototypes, in effect to produce vast quantities of Dwarven workers for the mines and the caverns below.  Over the centuries, a little bit of drift has occured, as various endowment ceremonies have mixed the lines, but most Dwarves see the Clan as the basic structure of governance and order.  Clans are partially an ethnic group (most Dwarves use their skin tone and appearance to order themselves, and see clan first, then Dwarf, and then try to figure out what the not Dwarves are), and in some cases a family.  Within each Clan are tight knit family groups, and these family groups form the basic working unit of the Clan.  The families within each clan come together twice a year to discuss progress and deliberate on decisions that affect the clan.  Each Clan can elect up to two Thanes to serve as leaders during times of crises.  Thanes typically choose the Clan’s representatives on the Dwarven Council, but occasionally they allow the families to vote on their representation.

Dwarves without Clans are welcomed with open arms by the Council of Mournestone Hall, and they maintain additional resources and potential vocations for the Clanless.  The God of the Dwarves has a special place in his heart for the Clanless, and many of them end up in the Stone Brotherhood, or make their way into the world as adventurers.  

The Endowment

Dwarves are not creatures of flesh and blood like most, and they have many similarities to other races, a key difference is that Dwarves are not born, they are made.  Two Dwarves of similar temper and willing personality can undertake an endowment ceremony.  This is one of the most private and solemn events in the life of a Dwarf, and every Dwarf feels the need to do it at least once in their life.  In darkened chambers, the two dwarves will chisel and sculpt a block of stone into the likeness of a Dwarf.  Hours of prayer, fasting, and other rites will pass between the Dwarves, and at the end of the ceremony, if the ceremony was blessed by the God of Dwarves, a new Dwarf lives, and takes his or her place within the household of his or her parents.  After forty years of education and training, the new Dwarf is welcomed into the ranks of adulthood with a ceremony.  


With the Dwarven personality, it’s a mystery to some why they’d leave their tunnels and mines, but the Dwarf easily accepts challenges from many directions, and some inexplicably feel the call to see the world and embrace those challenges.  Dwarven adventurers typically hail from the Clanless Dwarves, but this is not always true.  Dwarves mingle freely with other races, and they are often the backbone of adventuring parties (once their companions get used to their cheerful disposition).  

Clan Names:  Ironheart, Steelwind, Stonesoul, Rockhound, Gemlight, Granitebone, and Orevein

Rules addendums

Dwarves from this setting have the following changes:

Tool Proficiency:  

Dwarves have Proficiency with Miner’s tools and Smith’s Tools

Hill Dwarf:

These Dwarves represent the explorers and deep miners.  They are called Cave Dwarves by their companions, and have Darkvision to 120 feet.  Otherwise they have the same abilities as Hill Dwarves.  


Dwarves have a single god they worship, the Keeper of the Mountain.  The keeper of the Mountain and his companions entered the war against the giants at its darkest hour.  Through his ingenuity and the strength of his hammer, the Keeper was able to lead the Giant’s brood to freedom, and he has watched over the Dwarves ever since (the Gnomes and the Halflings also found their Gods and Goddesses during this struggle as well).  

The Stone Brotherhood counsels the Clans, and each Thane has his or her own personal counselor from the Brotherhood.  They also maintain schools and their temples are vast libraries of old books and records.  The Brotherhood is also responsible for arming and training the watches that keep the Dwarven vaults safe, and most of its priests are either clerics with the War Domain or Paladins.  

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