Sunday, June 28, 2015

Dwarves of Monvesia

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Language Analog: Georgian
Inspiration: Dwarves in the Dragon Age franchise
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Tainted Counterpart: Hobgoblin
Temperamental Association: Materialist

Male Names: Amiran, Anzor, Archil, Avtandil, Bidzina, Givi, Gocha, Gurgen, Imeda, Malkhaz, Mamuka, Okropir, Otar, Revaz, Tornike, Vakhtang, Vazha, Vepkhia, Zviad

Female Names: Bedisa, Darejan, Endzela, Eteri, Gulisa, Khatuna, Lali, Makvala, Manana, Mzia, Nana, Natela, Nestan, Rusudan, Tinatin, Tsisana, Tsiuri, Vardo

With Rakasta and Elves, Dwarves are one of the original races of Monvesia. Their homeland is called Dvergheim by Honderreichers or Duerghame by Galts.  Now little more than the Homeland and Barrier Mountains, it once extended through the Northpeaks--including parts of the Honderreich and Galtain, and much of Voztok.

Image result for several dwarves

Dwarf society is divided into three castes:  a High Caste of nobles and warriors; a Middle Caste of artisans, merchants, scholars, an the like; and a Low Caste of craftsmen, servants and other workers.  Below these are the Casteless--who are criminals, exiles, and their descendants.  Any non-dwarf living among dwarves is counted as one of the Casteless.
Artisans include armorsmiths, jewelers, weaponsmiths, weapon and armor smiths, and other creators of high-value items; craftsmen are those who create mundane items. A low-caste blacksmith may make weapons and armor, but one are forbidden from creating masterwork items; and one can only sell their wares to others of their caste or the casteless.
Each caste (excluding the Casteless) is further subdivided.  The High Caste is composed of clans, while the Middle and Low Castes are divided into guilds.  Clan is determined by birth, and can be changed only by marriage; guild is determined by profession, and can be changed through training.   The membership of each clan or guild--both past and current, is recorded by the Guild of Keepers (their clerical tradition).  Only those clans and guilds recognized by the Keepers may participate in the dwarven political system.  There are 24 recognized clans, 17 recognized Middle Caste guilds, and 29 recognized Low Caste guilds.  When a member of the High Caste is not suited for political or military service, one is encouraged to join a [Middle Caste] guild--typically the Guild of Keepers or the Guild of Artificers.
It was members of the Guild of Explorers that became the gnomes.
Politically, the race is organized into city-states.  Each city-state is comprised of several different clans and guilds.  While every recognized guild can be found in each city-state, not every clan is.  In smaller city-states, only one clan may be in power.  Guild branches in each city are called lodges, while clan branches are houses.  The elders and guildmasters of the city-state will elect a member of the warrior-caste as king when the previous king has died; during the electoral process, the council of elders acts as king until one of their number is chosen; and will serve as advisers to the King during his reign as well as a high court.  Beyond electoral duties, the Council of Guildmasters is only called on to serve as a lower court for simple crimes.

Currently, there are 70 clans recognized by the keepers (dwarf clerics). Each clan is divided into houses. Each house is governed by an elder (called a patron or matron), while the elder of the oldest branch is called a patriarch or matriarch. The patriarch or matriarch of the clan has limited authority over all the houses of that clan.

The Guild of Keepers began as a guild of scholars and record keepers who later developed a clerical role in dwarven society. They not only keep the law and lore the dwarf people, but also lead the veneration of the Paragons. In addition to attending to the shrines of a city-state, the keepers also serve the roles of municipal clerks, notaries public, justices of the peace, and librarians.

Dwarves are a practical, possessive people. They rarely form romantic attachments; marriage, not love, is prized among them. The typical dwarven joining ceremony equates to each participant willingly becoming the property of the other in a contract which may be mutually dissolved by both parties at any time. If it not uncommon for a specific time-frame to be chosen at the time of joining. Though a dwarf may only be joined with one other dwarf at a time, one may hire any number of concubines; typically, such an arrangement is as much in exchange for food and shelter as it is for companionship.
As marriage is about mutual possession, inheritance, and caste purity instead of procreation, same-sex relations are not taboo--though it is more common for such partners to be concubines, not spouses.

Castes

Dwarven sub-races represent the castes of their society.
  • Mountain Dwarf – High Caste [nobles, warriors]
    • Typical classes: Barbarian, Bard (Valor), Fighter, Paladin, Ranger 
  • Hill Dwarf – Middle Caste [craftsmen, merchants, scholars] 
    • Typical classes: Bard (Lore), Cleric, Rogue, Wizard (Artificer) 
  • Gray Dwarf (Sword Coast) - Low Caste [servants, workers]
    • Typical classes: Rogue (Thief)
  • Casteless Dwarves can be of any subrace 
    • Typical classes: Druid, Rogue (Assassin), Sorcerer, Warlock, Wizard (other) 
    • Gnome subraces are also dwarven outcasts (see "Gnomes of Monvesia")
Edited July 30th, 2015; November 2nd, 2015; October 10th, 2016 (major, cultural revision).

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