The dwarves of the Flanaess are an ancient race. On the dwarven calendar the current year is 6317 D.A., making the dwarven calendar the oldest on Oerik. Dwarves are very proud of their history, yet dwarven history has tended to be so insular that few other races are familiar with it. Part of the reason for this is that dwarves began long ago as an underground race. Only in the last few centuries have dwarves become more involved in above ground affairs than below ground. One of the main reasons for this has been the rise of human cities and the merchant class. Dwarves love city life and trade.
Dwarves also love mining, and seem to have an affinity with all things of the earth, which legendarily speaks to their origins. They are alternately drawn to the beauty of the things of the earth, and then to their durability.
The status quo is very important to dwarves, they try to be as unchanging in their ways as the stone about them. What is important to dwarves today is important because it was aeons ago. Traditions tell a dwarf when to wake up in the morning, when and what to eat, and how to comb his beard. There are at least 300 beard styles, each with significance in dwarven culture. There are, of course, exceptions to this rule of conformity, but dwarven social misfits are rather rarer than they are in human society.
The community is highly valued by dwarves, often valued over the individual, so dwarves are known as staunch defenders when their communities are threatened. Dwarves have found themselves almost constantly thrust into this role throughout their history, forced to defend themselves against goblinoids who would take their homes. Other races, particularly orcs and goblins, have long coveted the dwarves’ mines and homes. Every dwarf is taught martial techniques so that they can aid in the defense of their hold.
One of the distinct advantages of the rigidity of dwarven culture for non-dwarves is that the two dwarven languages have no dialects. All hill dwarves (such as those of Boulder Hold) speak Makilhorem, as all mountain dwarves speak Brekuntorik. Even if the holds in question are separated by more than one thousand miles. That said, there are minor differences from place to place in how things are done, and dwarves can always tell clans apart.
- Hegoldem, or southern hill dwarves, exepmplified by those that rule the Principality of Ulek.
- Mentherim, or ‘Humanfriend” dwarves.
- Toherntik are the isolated mountain dwarves.
- Turmistik are the mountain dwarves of the northeastern ranges.
The dwarves recognize a limited pantheon of deities, the most commonly worshipped being Clanggedin Silverbeard (god of battle and honor), Dumathoin (god of mining), Berronar (demi-goddess of home and clan), and Ulaa (goddess of hills and mountains). Moradin, over them all, is rarely worshipped directly except by elite groups of warriors.
Dwarves tend not to like magic, though there are some significant exceptions. Despite rumors to the contrary, most dwarves are not superstitiously afraid of magic, nor are they envious because they cannot cast spells themselves. In fact, dwarves are usually proud of their inability to work magic because they see magic as the tool of lazy humans and frivolous elves. Why should dwarves cheat and use magic to do what they can accomplish through dwarven sweat and blood?