Angels & Demons
Dwarves are master craftspeople and the knowledge of all their trades is sacred to them and rarely taught to anyone not dwarven. Passed down from generation to generation and from clan to clan as heirlooms, these trades have enriched the dwarves over time and their wealth and reluctance to share the knowledge of their trades and crafts with outsiders has earned the dwarven race many envious enemies over time. While sought out for their mastery, they are never cheap to employ and are frustrating for outsiders to work with since they are so suspicious of everyone not dwarven.
History is rife with stories of anti-dwarven sentiment and even occasional outbreaks of genocide from other races. As a result, every dwarven clan has taken pains to retain a strong martial tradition which is handed down from generation to generation. All dwarves are very protective of their clans and families and extremely reluctant to befriend outsiders. Virtually the only way that dwarves connect with the outside world is through trading which they will travel far and wide to engage in. The dwarves are excellent merchants and will trade with nearly anyone, even professed enemies if they feel that the profit is there for them.
Dwarves have a complicated guild system of apprentices and masters that seeps into nearly every level of their society. They have guilds for nearly every facet of dwarven life and this tendency towards order, structure, and hierarchy is one of the defining characteristics of the dwarven outlook.
Even though dwarves can be seen by many to be taciturn and morose, they are not without art or beauty in their societies. As a matter of fact, when one digs deeper it becomes evident that all the structure and order in their society is done as a result of their deep love and respect for their arts. Dwarves revere all stonework and many have made the argument that their reverence for the work itself and the material which is worked is nothing short of religious. Indeed, if an argument could be made for defining a dwarven religion it would begin and end with stoneworking. Their cities are for the most part underground and are always made of stone. Their knowledge and reverence of the subject is such that even discussing it with curious outsiders is seen by many dwarves as blasphemy; the equivalent of throwing pearls to swine.
As an offshoot of their stoneworking endevours, the dwarves see themselves as caretakers of the stone they work and the beautiful natural phenomena they discover underground. Many outsiders think that dwarves are the type to tunnel and build and subjugate the underground world to their will, when nothing could be further from the truth. The delicacy and elegance of this rough-hewn race becomes evident when one witnesses them at work, which unfortunately for outsiders is almost never. The dwarves deepest wish is to live in harmony with the living rock which surrounds them and protects them, and as such they build and excavate according to the seams and layers of the rock as they find it. The resulting dwarven communities can sometimes be seen as chaotic if viewed from a purely cartographical outlook with sprawling and seemingly disjointed tunnels and caverns joined haphazardly, but if one has a deep understanding and love of the rock as the dwarves do the rationale behind all their building is obvious.
Dwarves wish only to be left alone and to build and cultivate the beautiful stone in the mountainranges they choose to call home. Unfortunately this is not the case and dwarves have accumulated many enemies over the millenia. First and foremost among them are the other evil underground dwellers who do not have the reverence and love for the rock and natural creations they live in. The unwitting destruction goblinoids and nameless other groups have committed in the name of tunneling out simple abodes has unknowingly earned them the undying enmity of all dwarves for their acts of sacrilege, ignorance notwithstanding.
Dwarves are known for their grudge-holding and stubbornness, but this can be explained if one takes a look at their relationship to the stone and other materials in which they work and live. According to the dwarven outlook, one is given a great gift by the gods when you are presented with beautiful pristine stone or a flawless gem to work upon. To mar those substances through ignorance or sloppy work is the gravest sin one can possibly commit because in doing so you have removed a thing of beauty from this existence forever. It is unforgivable in the sense that if you did not have the skill to improve upon nature’s perfection you should at least have the respect to acknowledge that and to simply gaze upon a natural creation with the reverence it deserves and to protect it from damage by any and all others. This is the dwarven outlook in a nutshell.
Occasionally dwarves have made great friendships with individual Elves although this is exceedingly rare. Both races are exceptional craftspeople and once they become aware of this and learn to respect each other’s work they nearly always become supportive of one another. Unfortunately this rarely happens because of mutual distrust, historic bad blood and deep belief in erroneous stereotypes which continue to persist throughout both societies. Dwarves have a better relationship with humans, mainly because humans are quick to trade, employ, and acknowledge dwarves as superior craftsmen.
Dwarves have a deep and persistent hatred of all orcs, goblinoids, and most giants. They see them as not only evil and dangerous, but destroyers of all the beauty that forms the backdrop and undercurrent of the dwarven life.