Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Ages of Lingusia: Dwarves in the Empire Era

Dwarves in the Empire Era
   Like elves and eladrin there are several breeds of dwarf in Lingusia, though the only ones commonly encountered are the maddendur (iron dwarves) and suethendur (silver dwarves).

Iron Dwarves (Maddendur)
   The iron dwarves dominate within their kingdom in the deep south, along the peninsula encompassing the domain of their home in the Iron Mountains. Here, the dwarves rule, and men and elf are the rare exception. Iron dwarves can be found abroad throughout the Middle Kingdoms, however for in addition to being sturdy warriors, craftsmen and miners they are also shrewd merchants and businessmen.
   Iron dwarves are known for their crude personalities. The typical maddendur is dour, taciturn, and prone to anger, but also tends to be very, very good in battle. Most iron dwarves live life with a certain gusto, embracing notions of greed, good hard living, territorialism and selfishness to an extreme. Nonetheless they are also very communal and will protect their own; the dwarven sense of community is powerful.
   Iron Dwarves hail from many other regions of Lingusia besides the Iron Mountains, including the Angarak Mountains in Amech, as well as the deep northern kingdoms scattered in the mountains of Zued, Hettanar and Caelernin in the north. Throughout all these locations iron dwarves can be found, dwelling in busy mountain homes, carving deep in to their mountains to create wondrous underground citadels. They are perpetually at war with the chaos-kin, giants, and endless denizens of the Underworld.
   The most famous city of the iron dwarves can be found in their southern kingdom in the Iron Mountains: the capitol of Shillmarane is considered the largest inhabited (friendly) underworld city in Lingusia.
Personality and Appearance: Iron Dwarves are, as mentioned, a dour, taciturn and angry lot. They revere war, profit, and crafting above all other pursuits, and are single minded almost to a fault in such matters. Iron Dwarves can be reclusive isolationists, so are rarer on the surface than Silver Dwarves, but make their presence felt when necessary.
   Iron dwarves are usually around 4 feet in height, burly and bearded, and even the women are said to grow beards, though the truth of this is unknown to most humans since dwarven women are rarely ever seen. Their hair and eyes are of all colors and types, but they have a ruddy bronze quality to their skin. Iron Dwarves of the deep Northlands tend to be fair in skin, and more blonde.
Relations: Iron Dwarves respect the kingdoms of man, and they have relations and treaties with the Hyrkanian Empire and the Creteans. Those merchant dwarves who travel by sea have relations as far away as Zued and Octzel. Dwarves get along only intermittently with silver elves, and are driven nuts by sylvan elves. They are annoyed by halfing syleni, and confused by gnomes. They hate the darendur, ashtarth, and all chaoskin.
Religion: Iron Dwarves revere Hargameth for war, Ashturak for trade and crafting, Elesin for seamanship, and The Nameless One for being honest about death. Dwarven women revere Kishar and Khovaris.
Language: Iron Dwarves learn dwarvish, and usually take the Middle Tongue or Eastern Tongue as trade languages.
Names: Iron Dwarves like good, sturdy first names, and have lengthy and hard to pronounce last names, which follow a mantra-like code that connects their male lineage. There are dozens and dozens of clans, and often as many as ten to twelve clans within a city.
Male: Borin, Damior, Golin, Dwaelor, Ulan, Vailor, Gunrish, Daelin, Gimmel.
Female: Kamael, Dunir, Vimara, Loris, Tenera, Aspiel, Minhara, Ulara.
Adventurers: Iron Dwarves often join fraternal orders of knights, and one of the duties of such orders is to quest and seek out the enemies of dwarves. Merchant orders will likewise expect an iron dwarf to seek out perfection in his mercantile or crafting skills. Many iron dwarves will become singularly obsessed with a deed or quest that can only be accomplished over long periods of time on the surface world, and so venture forth to fulfill their obsession.
   Some of the more adventurous Maddendur include the Magendur, a powerful clan of dwarves that have actually entered the realms of Mitra’s Forest to begin a new war to drive out the orcs and other chaos-kin of that land. Magendur are a most adventurous lot.

Maddendur Characters
   Iron dwarves are just like standard dwarves in the PHB, with no unusual rules modifications.

Silver Dwarves (Suethendur)
   Silver dwarves are a diaspora of dwarves, a subculture of the larger group that were originally situated out of the Silver Mountains in the eastern expanses of Yllmar and Drai’in, but were driven out a century ago by the invading hordes of the dreaded necromancer king Anharak.
   Silver dwarves believe they are directly descended from the blood of the god Ashturak, and for this reason feel they are gifted with an almost preternatural talent for craftsmanship and smithing. Most all silver dwarves are professionals of one trade or another, engaging in such practices with an almost unnatural gusto.
   The armor, weapons, ships and chariots manufactured by silver dwarves are unnaturally strong and always of the highest quality. Many silver dwarves have learned to enchant magical devices and have become exceptionally talented at artificing. Some of the most amazing inventions of these dwarves include fantastic inflatable air ships-dirgibiles by any other name-of which a handful presently operate in the empire of Hyrkania, three having been given by the legendary smith Nerabad to the Emperor a few years ago as gifts from his clan.
   While Silver Dwarves have the smallest population as dwarves go, they are seemingly more numerous as their diaspora is spread out among the kingdoms of man. Silver Dwarves have found homes within small mountainous enclaves throughout the Middle Kingdoms and the north, but none can quite recover from the loss of their most splendid and seemingly endless subterranean city within the Silver Mountains. Several silver dwarf clans remain dedicated to purging their home mountains of the taint of Anharak and his hordes of undead and orcs, though.
Personality and Appearance: Silver Dwarves are more outgoing and gregarious than their dour Iron kin. They are as diplomatic as they are mechanically skilled, and value the insight of other races as well as their own.
   Silver Dwarves are also around four feet, and save for their ancient heritage from the Silver Mountains, are not easily differed from their Iron kin. Most Silver Dwarves have fair skin, however, and tend to have more blonde and gray in their hair. Many are blue eyed, a rare trait among Iron Dwarves.
Relations: Silver Dwarves get along with everyone, perhaps save for the chaos-kin, and even then they’re willing to accept a good being of an evil race. They are remarkably diplomatic, although just as prone to angry moodiness at times as their Iron kin.
Religion: Silver Dwarves are reverent to Ashturak, the creator god. It is said in the myths of the dwarves that Ashturak first created the Iron Dwarves, but as they were his first creation, they were flawed and a little ugly, so he created their brothers, the Silver Dwarves, and got it right the second time, by modeling them after his own image. This might be vanity, but oddly enough the Iron Dwarves do not deny it, and let the Silver Dwarves carry on.
   Silver dwarves also revere Khovaris and Kishar, both of whom have primarily female priesthoods.
Worship of Khovairs began in the north, but has progressed rapidly throughout the suethendur enclaves in the Middle Kingdoms. Khovaris is regarded as a goddess of fortune and luck among male dwarves, and among fertility and clan success among female dwarves.
Language: Silver Dwarves know their own dialect of dwarvish, which is still effectively the same language, and the language of their closest human kin (usually the Middle Tongue).
Names: Silver Dwarves adopt many names, and will often choose first names from amongst the local cultures in which they dwell, but they always prefer  to have a middle or last name connected to their old clan names.
Male: Aurangabad, Gamerland, Deimos, Ashamar, Hegroth, Gemanahar, Vovoron.
Female: Dulim, Meris, Enneri, Vohiris, Quirin, Lari, Missada, Venderlyn.
Adventurers: Silver Dwarves, as a result of their diaspora throughout the Middle Kingdoms, travel often, and adventure even more. Some Silver Dwarves see themselves are traveling scholars and antiquarians, discovering the lost subterranean past of their people. Others seek to find master artificers who can teach them new tricks and techniques.

Suethendur Characters
   Silver dwarves are generated using the standard dwarf rules in 4E, with the following modifications:
Artificers and Crafters: All Suethendur are excellent craftsmen and inventors by nature, and gain a free bonus feat, which must be chosen from either the Alchemy, Ritual Magic or Practiced Mastery feats.

Darendur, Dark Dwarves     
   Like the Ashtarth, some dwarves in the War of the Gods were swayed to serve Chaos, and were marked with a dusky, death-like gray skin, as if they were filled with the darkness of their subterranean kingdoms. They dwell beneath the surface of the world only, and are rarely ever seen in daylight.
   Most darendur encountered on the surface or near it are to be found in the western end of the Slithotendan Mountains, where they have two dominant surface cities: Darkholm, not far from the Monastery of Senempar, and Sadrys, a small port dominated by the Gharadagh Clan. The curious poltical and cultural mix of the region proved to be a lucrative market for some of the tribes of the deep, and these Darendur have taken the mountains in that region as their own. It is often noted by adventurers visiting the region that the darendur are the only dwarves to be found in the region; the fairer skinned dwarves have left the region entirely to their deep dwelling cousins.
   Physically darendur are not unlike iron and silver dwarves, but they are marked in much the same manner as the ashtarth by the taint of chaos, with dusky grey skin, hair that ranges from white to red and black in coloration, and deep, liquid opal eyes that reflect their keen vision in total darkness.
   Darendur are similar to regular dwarves, with some differences:

Darendur Characters
Average Height: 3’6” to 4’8”
Average Weight: 125-225 lbs.
Languages: Deep Speech, plus one other (usually Tradespeak or Giantish)
Ability Scores: +2 Constitution and either  +2 Strength or +2 Charisma
Size: medium
Speed: 6 squares
Vision: dark vision (special, below)
Skill Bonuses: +2 Arcana, +2 Dungeoneering
Magical Sensitivity: All darendur have a curious innate ability to tell what sort of magic an item is, much as if they had the Arcana skill. Darendur may identify magic items and their properties in this manner merely by touch (they don’t even need to study them visually). The darendur must still make an Arcana check, but can do so even if he has not trained in the skill.
Dark Vision: Darendur have Darkvision of 120 feet, being atuned to the lightless depths of their subterranean homes. They need no light source to see in a series of black and white shades, able to rely on a form of infrared to see.
Light Sensitive: All darendur are light-sensitive, and experience blindness for one round if exposed to a sudden daylight-like effect (such as a spell or unexpected sunlight). In such situations the darendur grants combat advantage until the end of the next turn from which he was exposed to the bright light source, or until he takes a second wind (which removes the penalty immediately).
Magic Resistance: Darendur have a strange resilience against magic, and gain the following daily racial power in place of the standard dwarven second wind ability:

Magic Resistance                   Darendur Racial Power
Daily – Personal – Immediate Reaction
Trigger: you are targeted and hit by an arcane, primal or divine spell.
Effect: you may negate the effect that just hit you.

Item Disruption: Finally, the spell resistance of darendur is also overwhelming to magical items. Every time a darendur seeks to activate a magical device, he must make a saving roll (10+). If he fails, then the device has no effect on him or does not trigger. This applies to both beneficial and detrimental items as arbitrated by the DM. There is only one exception: illusory psychic effects always work on or for the Darendur.
   Items which do not affect the Darendur do not lose their charge unless the situation would suggest it (i.e. a wand fired at a Darendur simply recovers its power charge, but a potion, once drunk, may be lost).

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