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Author Topic: Dwarven Society - the first part of a Massive Post  (Read 1235 times)
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Bard Judith
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« on: 05 December 2001, 10:25:00 »

Some Important Information on Dwarven Society.

Will be emailing this, along with other stuff, to dear overworked Arti, so don't worry, oh sage!  This is FYI.



The Thergerim are a very organized society, who have specific occupations within their communal clan or cavern; the occupations are divided by sex and sometimes age or experience, so that each person knows his or her place in the community from a fairly early age.
One of the main reasons for this gender segregation of various jobs is, of course, cultural.  But another, more powerful reason is actually biological.  Both genders of dwarves, as we've noted before, appear very similar (secondary sexual characteristics such as musculature, facial hair, and so on, are in evidence for both male and female).  However, primary sexual distinctions (see the entry Dwarven Mating, Marriage and Reproduction ) are MORE distinctive, because of vastly varying differences in Thergerim hormonal levels.

These hormonal differences mean that the females are (like humans, to some extent) more 'nurturing', have greater manual dexterity, better linguistic and verbal skills, (compared to male dwarves, but not to humans!) and are able to 'multi-task'.  They also have a stronger psychic and empathic ability, when such abilities are present.  Males, however, have greater endurance, lower oxygen consumption (a plus when working underground), claustrophilia, and more highly developed spatial relationships.  Neither gender is particularly aggressive but either may have strong leadership and organizational abilities, and what passes for 'people skills' with dwarves.

Since dwarven science is not greatly advanced, the way they put this is, "Man's blood, man's life, man's work - Woman's blood, woman's life, woman's work."

We must reiterate that among dwarves there is none of this 'human' tendency to rank or structure work within a status hierarchy - everyone does his or her job to the best of his or her ability, and contributes to the community.  It is assumed that their contribution entitles them to all the benefits of the community, such as food, shelter, clothing, tools, and resources, without weighing the amount or merit of the contribution.  Since dwarves also remain relatively vigourous and physically active well into their aged years (but see the entry on Time of Stone) there is always something to do and someone who can do it.


Miners - excavate tunnels and homecaves as needed, work the gem and orefaces, retrieve various minerals and gems for use in smithing and trade, carve larger items of stone furnishings, and identify specific stone types for building and trade to human artisans.  Male, often younger.
Smiths - males who refine ores into metals, and forge the metals into items, artifacts, and utensils for daily life.  Often cast small and large simple machine parts to Brownie or human specifications (based on wood carvings or clay molds).  Some smiths focus on weaponry and tools, while other create jewelry and artworks.  The younger smiths begin with pickheads and shovel blades - skilled smiths can work metal into woven necklaces or intricate mail shirts.  
Teacher - cares for and instructs children, from weaning to apprenticeship (age may vary).  Female, usually pre-mating or aged.
Mage - works with tools, items, spell components, reagents, and other physical material  to create magic and change his/her environment. Requires excellent memory and concentration skills.  Often low in emotional expression or solitary.   Either gender.
Healer - uses herbs, potions, food, psychology, and some limited empathic magic to cure and heal physical and spiritual injuries.  Either gender.
Sender -  Skilled in sending and receiving several levels of drummed code.  Usually male.
Singspeaker - Interprets bats' radar messages, trains them to send messages.  Can repair and sometimes rebuild the complex Brownie machines which are used in the training. Infrequently develops the  skill to ‘hear’ the radar blips and translate directly, without the machine.  Depends on innate ability, usually a male trained from an early age.
Foodmaker - Stores, prepares, and creates food for everyone at the communal hearth.  Skilled in uses of spices, flavourings, basic food chemistry, baking, and dietary needs.  Trained to make food appeal to each of the senses (in a low-light environment, how the food smells and its texture become relatively more important - and dwarves have excellent hearing....) Female.
Brewmistress - Stores, mashes, ferments, and brews various beverages, alcoholic or otherwise. Works closely with the Foodmakers and Farmtenders.   Older female with experience.
Woodsmith - Cuts, stores, seasons, and prepares lumber.  Designs and builds any furniture not carved from stone, and small utensils, bowls, and decorative items.  Usually female.
Weavewender - works in conjunction with the Farmtenders to harvest rockmoss, a type of heavily silicate growth which can be prepared and spun into a thin, strong fiber.  Weaves rockwool, as it is then known, into the fabric mainly worn by dwarves.  Usually older females with some experience.
Farmtender - Plants, tends, and harvests crops. Responsible for gathering seeds and storing tubers, culturing moss growths in appropriate places, pruning back cave vegetation, providing a consistent water supply to crops and Thergerim, and controlling small above-ground plantations of photo-sensitive chlorophyll-based plants.   Female, any age or experience.
Leader -elected by common consensus, although often from a popular family within the clan.  Makes decisions aided by his/her council members and supported by consensus voting of all adult dwarves.  Either gender.
Hunter - Goes above ground to find larger animals, or roams the uninhabited caverns in search of rock-game, as it is called. Skilled in use of various weapons, can make and set traps, read sign, and navigate above ground.  Usually female.                        
Gem-Dowser - dwarves who have perfect pitch are chosen and trained from an early age to tune their resonances to such a focused degree that they are able to make certain types of crystalline structure reverberate within the rock around them.  By alternately singing or humming a single note, and then ‘tuning’ that note slightly flat or sharp, they can ‘search’ for a particular gem type up to ten or fifteen feet away through solid rock.  The effective range varies with the type of rock - oddly enough, hard stone such as granite increases the range, while soft porous rock such as limestone tends to decrease it, possibly by absorbing or otherwise altering the vibrations.
Earth-Guide - a dwarf with an unusually acute sense of direction. It is believed that it may be related to the magnetic or the ley lines running through A’erie’chan.  Even in coal-blackness, spun around and turned upside down at an angle, these dwarves have an unerring sense of which way is ‘up’, which way ‘down’, and which way their home cavern is, not to mention a feel for the nearest open space.  Usually male, but not always.  Those who make it aboveground are eagerly sought after by human mine superintendants and treasure divers, or employed as night caravan guides or mountain rescue specialists.  At least one such talented dwarf made a very good living as part of a circus troupe, but he is not a lauded character in Thergerim history.


"Give me a land of boughs in leaf /  a land of trees that stand; / where trees are fallen there is grief; /  I love no leafless land."   --A.E. Housman
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