Legacy of Swords
Dwarves are short, stocky folk standing about four to five feet tall, but with disproportionately broad shoulders and barrel chests; they have the same average weight as humans. Tough and sturdy, they’re much stronger than their size suggests, and can withstand much more pain, toil, and exhaustion than a human — dwarven endurance and hardiness are legendary. They also enjoy greater lifespans than Men; some live as long as four centuries.
Male dwarves have long, distinctive beards. Sometimes they specially braid or dye them, or tie small decorative objects or trophies to strands of them. They tend to wear their hair long, sometimes with small war-braids down the sides of the head. Dwarven females do not have beards, and tend to venture away from dwarven realms and settlements far less frequently than male dwarves.
Dwarves generally prefer to live in the mountains and hills, often in enormous underground halls carved and decorated as only dwarven skill allows. They frequently fight with goblins and orcs, and many dwarves hunt those ancient enemies of their folk at every opportunity.
Dwarves’ skill with smithing, mining, mechanics, masonry, and similar crafts is as renowned as their vigor. They make some of the finest weapons, armor, jewelry, machinery, and other goods known, often trading these things with other races for the food and other supplies they cannot obtain underground or in mountainous regions.
Dwarves are widely known for certain personality traits. They tend to be stern, dour,close-mouthed, and quick to anger. If offended or harmed, they can hold grudges for a long time, even generations or centuries. Many dwarves are greedy, with an inordinate love of gold, silver, gems, and fine craftworks. On the other hand, dwarven honor and loyalty are bywords among most folk; a dwarf often takes as much offense at an insult to one of his friends as the friend takes himself.
Dwarves also love good times, good song, and good food and drink. Dwarves’ toughness makes them excellent warriors. Size and cultural predilections lead them to favor axes, hammers, picks, and maces as melee weapons, though short swords and daggers are by no means unknown. For ranged combat, dwarves tend to favor items of mechanical nature, catapults and other rock throwers to be certain, but also dwarven windlasses, and cannon. Dwarves often use pistols in combat, but generally only as an initial foray, charging headlong into hand-to-hand battle whenever possible.
Since their strength and endurance let them bear the weight of armor easily, they favor heavier armors and shields. But not all dwarves are warriors. Many remain craftsmen all their lives, taking great pride in producing ever-finer works- sometimes making items of great beauty of precious gems and metals, others building items of complex machinery and craft, gears and cogs.
Some become so possessed by greed that they turn to thievery or raiding; less wicked-minded dwarves may become merchants instead, earning the gold they so love honestly. While dwarven mages are usually rare, they’re not unheard of; dwarves seem to have a particular affinity for magics involving earth, metal, stone, and runes.
Dwarven culture holds that one’s mood and spirit are intertwined, and as a result, many dwarves take on different personalities as their mood changes. For example, a dwarf may speak with one type of accent when they are merry and cheerful, and a completely different accent as they are dour or depressed.