Tales of Brittanis
Note: Free Dwarves use the stats for Dwarves appearing in the Player’s Handbook.
The dwarves of Brittanis are refugees and the children of refugees. At roughly the same time the Empire abandoned Brittanis a century ago, the last dwarven King of Mordengaard was murdered by his youngest brother. The brother had made a pact with the forces of the Nine Hells and commanded magic that enslaved his fellow dwarves’ minds and bent them to his will. The loyalist dwarves attempted to defend their fallen kingdom, but the infernal magic of the Iron Dwarves (as they now called themselves) proved stronger than the scattered resistance could counter.
Instead, many dwarven families fled Mordengaard and settled amongst the lands of the other races. Now the Free Dwarves live in isolated pockets, struggling hard to keep their traditions and culture alive in the midst of terrible odds and encroaching cultures not their own. They strive to remember what it is to be dwarven, to maintain their clan and honor the gods in the ways that dwarves have for centuries untold.
In the deep heart of each and every Free Dwarf burns the knowledge of what they have lost and that fire smolders into a life of adventure for some. Many seek out the treasures of the past in hopes that power gained there can help the dwarven people. Others seek personal power to lead their fellows into prosperity. Others serve themselves, amassing strength in an effort to not be like their ancestors and pushed from yet another place of safety. The betrayal of Ironhall is a shadow looming over every Free Dwarf.
Appearance: Dwarves are short and stocky, usually with well-muscled frames resulting from lifetimes of hard work and toil. They typically stand less than 5 feet tall, though their mass and bulk means that they weigh almost as much as humans. Dwarves typically have deep tan or light brown skin and dark hair worn long and usually braided. Male dwarves are famed for their beards, though younger generations have adopted the habit of clipping them short. Regardless, a dwarf’s beard is always neatly kept and trimmed. Contrary to popular belief, female dwarves do not have beards, though female dwarves are required to keep their hair bound and braided by ancient custom. Dwarves focus on practical, durable clothing of cotton, canvas or leather, and favor decorations of geometric or angular design. Their weapons and armor are always well-kept and maintained.
Personality: Though slow to make friends, once your ally a dwarf is the staunchest companion one could ask for. They are often stereotyped as greedy and avaricious, but this actually is representative of the dwarven appreciation for craftsmanship. Dwarves are inherent collectors, though what is considered valuable varies from dwarf to dwarf. Dwarves in combat fight neither recklessly nor timidly, but instead utilize tenacity and hardened resolve to win through in the end. Above all, dwarves value justice and order in the world. Their laws are succinct and based around the concept of family and/or clan. Injuring or defaming one dwarf is the same thing as doing so to every member of his entire family, for the honor of one is tied to the honor of all in the clan. This caused frequent blood feuds in the Old World, but today allows the dwarves to stand as one in the face of new challenges.
Homeland: Free dwarves have no homeland. Each and every Free Dwarf is a refugee or the child of refugees. As such, they have integrated themselves into other races’ cities and settlements, forming close-knit, even xenophobic communities of dwarves. It doesn’t matter what family or clan settles in an area—under all but the most extreme circumstances the dwarves of an area will congregate and work together.
Religion: Dwarves were exposed to the Church of Light through the Empire, but to date no dwarven churches dedicated to the entire pantheon exist. Occasionally a dwarf will be called to service in the Church, but those who are inevitably find their way into the Heartland. The three gods who almost all dwarves revere are Ghorn and his children Dagmar and Emrys. Aenryia and Sarai are given honor due to their status as mother, but the dwarves revere the House of Ghorn first and foremost.