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« on: 21 December 2004, 14:52:00 »

This is the Overview en masse, so you can see the organizational structure.  Still some things to fill in but mostly complete!
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Nomenclature:

Along with the elves, humans, brownies, and orcs, the dwarves are one of the most important Caelerethian races. They call themselves the Thergerimerons ('Thergerim' is the singular form) in their own tongue, ThergerimTaal (see the subentry on Dwarven Language). Human historians, however, often use the term 'Thergerim' to refer to both individuals and the race of Dwarves. .

Cosmological Origin:

"When the Rain of Life fell down upon Aéér'aíí'cháán the dwarven race was the second one which was blessed by the Spirit of Aváá, the High Goddess, countering the creation of the elves who sprang from the element of the Wind. And so it happened that the dwarves emerged from the element of Earth and were therefore created as the natural counterpart of the elven race…" At least this is the story as told in the elven myth of the Carpáá'dosíía.

Of course, the Thergerim have their own version of the creation story! They say matter-of-factly that at the beginning of times, the dwarves were merely living stone, just as the elves were only mere windy phenomenons. These very first stone beings were formed by the Un'Sthommerons, or 'Stone Fathers'. The Un'Sthommerons were gigantic demi-gods who were themselves carved from various types of rock by Trum-Baroll, the Forge Lord, the Shaper of Earth (the equivalent to Urtengor in Santharian beliefs) himself. In imitation of their Creator, they too set tools to rock and sculpted the race of the dwarves.

READ MORE about the Un'Sthommerons, the Lords of Flint, Granite, Sandstone, and all the rest… .

Appearance:

Thergerim are humanoid in basic form, the most significant characteristic being their height and beards. The average dwarf stands one to one and a half peds tall, and about four spans across the shoulders. They live about two to three centuries, although reaching a full three hundred years is unusual. Full facial hair begins to sprout on both genders at about fifty years old (their time of adolescence). Females usually braid, curl, or otherwise dress their beardhair, although more clans are now beginning to adopt the Boltgrumm or Mitharim styles of depilating facial hair. While some females denounce this as a modern menace to traditional dwarven ways, others see it as a liberation from time-consuming hairdressing; it literally eliminates more than half the amount of personal grooming involved in getting ready for the day's work!

Males, however, take great pride in the length and fullness of their beards and do not begrudge the daily ritual in combing, edgepruning, braiding, pomading, and whatever else is necessary to beardcare. Male dwarves consider their beards to be an important sign of their personal dignity and standing in their clan, so much so that sometimes when a male is needed to fill an important position within the clan, all other things being equal, the more amply-bearded dwarf will win the spot.

(Insert picture of Khuzd Morgolz, famous smith and warrior of the Kurakim Dwarves, by Quellion, here)

Some of the many beard-related sayings among the Thergerim may serve to demonstrate: "His beard isn't as long as he thinks" (referring to a dwarf who has exceeded his reach or status), "He's full-bearded" (the dwarf in question is completely trustworthy), or during a dispute, "Trim your beard back!". Exactly equivalent to our peasant Tharian proverb "He's too big for his breeches" is the dwarven "He's too short for his beard". Other proverbs of the Thergerim may be found under Beliefs, below...

Legs have a tendency towards bowing and stockiness. Hands are generally calloused, but with well-defined knuckles and fleshy pads. Eye and hair colour vary, but are less bright than human shades and considerably less varied than elven. (Brown, black, and dark blue or grey are the most common eye colours, while brown, black, or reddish hair is the norm. Hair does begin to whiten near the end of the dwarf's life. ) Ears and nose appear proportionately larger on the face. Thergerim bones have been found to be quite dense and heavy for their size, and the molars of the skull are somewhat larger than human.


Nature & Habits:

The Thergerim are a conservative and communal race, physically sturdy and mentally strong-willed. They do not change their ways or opinions lightly, and have a very unified set of religious beliefs. By human standards, they would be considered stubborn and unyielding, resistant to new concepts and ideas. Because of their origin from the Element of Earth, or, as they claim, from stone, dwarves are usually less affected by extremes of cold and heat than other races. They also seem to have a natural defence against certain types of magic, in particular the spells which require the magic to have an effect upon the mind or emotions of the target. Their own practise of magic is, as might be expected, rather practical and workmanlike; it invariably uses reagents and other 'tools' to produce a desired, predictable effect. Fiercely loyal to family, clan, and race, ( in that order) dwarves have an unyielding honour and a stubborn pride. This stubbornness and loyalty makes them fearsome warriors, especially when equipped with their technically superior dwarven-forged weaponry. Primarily known as hard workers, skilled craftsmen, miners and smiths, the Thergerim are renowned for finishing what they start. Their society is equally divided along gender lines, and each member has a contribution to make which is equally respected. For more information on typical occupations of the dwarves, see the entry on the Mitharim Clan.

Dwarves are highly sensitive to noise, and prefer a low-noise environment; in fact, their enlarged ears contain a small ulvula, or fleshy flap, which they can close or open at will to restrict the amount of sound which enters. It is postulated that this organ was developed or created magically at some distant point in their past to enable them to mine more efficiently. Dwarves dislike water in any volume bigger than a pool and, probably due to their dense bone structure, cannot swim.

The Thergerim as a race are also very sensitive to sunlight; their pale skin seems to react to it more strongly than a human's would under a similar length of time, and their eyes, designed for low-light conditions, find our Injera almost intolerably bright at mid-day. (This may explain why most of our (human) depictions of dwarves show them with crinkled, squinted eyes set in deeply wrinkled sockets, rather than the large, nearly glowing orbs that they exhibit underground…) The bachelor dwarves who spend more time aboveground usually develop heavily tanned, coarse skin like that of an ancient farmer, which seems to protect them to some extent, and of course they tend to be more active around dawn and dusk, taking a mid-day 'Wrakn' or naptime.

Tribes & Clans:

Boltgrummerim: The Boltgrumm, or 'Ore-teeth' clan, claim the Xythrian Ridge and the Kairean Teeth at the centre of the Southern Peninsula of Sarvonia, fairly close to the large city of Santhala, and just below Elsreth. They are generally considered to be among the more 'sophisticated' but also 'aggressive' dwarves. Trading with humans on a regular basis, they thus have access to a variety of foodstuffs and technology from other races. The Kairgrumerons are young, sharp mountains full of quartz outcroppings (whose pure white colour and geometric crystals may have suggested the 'teeth' nomenclature). Gold is heavily laced through many of the underground quartz veins, and the extensive network of mines is exclusively run and guarded by Boltgrumm dwarves, who have a monopoly on the region.

Kalkargerim: These dwarves once dwelt on the continent of Aeruillin, within the Cár'cál'cáey range, but are now believed to be extinct. They were victims of a 'holy war' some decades ago and if any survivors exist, they are deep in the bowels of the Cár-cál'cáey mountains, cut off from the outside world.

Kavogerim: The 'Plains Dwarves' of Nybelmar are some of the most unusual of the Thergerim race on Caelereth. Driven from their traditional mountain fastnesses by war, they reside in carefully crafted sand-pits or burrows beneath the waves of the Nybelmarnian Desert, living in almost symbiotic closeness with their herds of unique 'Bachik' and 'Havach-Oxen'. They tend to be caravaneers and trade route guides, braving the fierce sunlight with layers of dark robes and their religiously-worn har-eh, or head-veils. READ MORE about these exotic dwarves of Nybelmar...

Kiingerim: The "High Dwarves" of Nybelmar are a proud, city-dwelling clan who consider the acquisition of wealth to be a noble goal and are in fact the 'rulers of continental trade' in Nybelmar. Located only in the great black city of Tyr Faerath, these tall dwarves are mostly sharp dealers - "Traders" as they name themselves- or ferocious warriors, subdivided into carefully organized cohorts and responsibilities. Wealthy and well-respected, the Kiingerim are the prominent clan on the continent, with a more wide-spread reputation than their reclusive Kavogerim brothers. READ MORE interesting details here...

Kurakim: These muscular, deep-chested dwarves are as craggy and formidable as the conifer-clad Prominent Mountains in which they dwell. Undisputed masters at smithery, and masonry, they are less agoraphobic than most of their kind, and have forged and built many commissions for humans. They also have an excellent trade relationship with the Injerín elves, and through long association have become a philosophical and patient clan, known for their love of debate and discussion. READ MORE about the tough but intellectual Kurakim...

Mitharim: The 'Metal-folk' are a southern mining clan in the Mithral Mountains east of Santhala, along the Adanian Coast, which produces a great deal of ore and metal work. The Mithralrotrumerons are rich in iron, lead, copper, and other industrial ores. One large Mitharim city-cavern is located somewhere near the source of the Mashdai River which flows into the Adanian Sea, and the trading hamlet known as Grensa Post is its 'embassy' for human contact. The Mitharim move large quantities of trade goods within the confines of ancient, well-maintained trade agreements with various Santharian kings, and are often perceived as 'typical' dwarves by humankind. READ MORE for a thorough picture of 'typical dwarves'...

Morgerim: The 'Dark Dwarves' - a separate clan, although some say race, since their physical characteristics and culture vary significantly from the rest of the Thergerim. However, they are indeed dwarves, albeit reclusive (and that's reclusive even from a dwarven point of view!) Currently not much known, but historians are working to remedy this lack of information.


Susilgerim: The Susilgerim or Imlith Dwarves are very unlike other dwarves of Sarvonia, and this has led a few unwise researchers to claim that they are in fact not true dwarves, but rather a sub-species of dwarf. Taller and leaner (about one and a half peds in height, and only three spans across the shoulders on the average), these sinewy dwarves are a soft taupe colour from head to toe - skin, hair, and even eyes are all the same greyish-brown hue. For the most part the Susilgerim do not dwell completely underground like their Thergerim brethren on the rest of the continent, but rather have carved shallow caves in the many narrow ravines and winding valleys of the Imlith Mountains, or live in turf 'scrapes' and burrows in the forests of the Imliths themselves. READ MORE about these unique dwarves...

Tenthrummerim: Located at the western part of the Rimmerins Ring, just east of Kor Donion and the Vale of Brownies, the Tenthrumm or 'Strong-pick' clan are generally reclusive when it comes to human trade. However, because of their location, there is much trade between this clan and the Brownies. They often have the latest Brownie technologies, and some long-standing friendships have developed between dwarf and brownie craftsmen in their respective fields. As a result, the Tenthrums have a reputation for being the 'liberals' of the dwarves, and are looked on with some mild suspicion by the other clans. Of course, the fiercely loyal nature of Thergerim society means that outsiders would never be able to exploit that suspicion to their advantage.... "They'se may be odd uns," as one old Boltgrumm Granny was overheard to say, "but they'se OUR odd uns..."

Third Northern Sarvonian Tribe: Details currently unknown.

Thrumgolzerim: This clan, known in ThergerimTaal as the 'Pickhands', hold the territory of High and the Low Fores, west of the Ancythrian Sea. They are informally divided into the "Highs" and "Lows" amongst themselves, though this distinction is not usually drawn to the attention of other races. The Highs have good access to timber from the woods of Goltharion, and the various trade items on the shores of the Ancythrian Sea. The Lows are not as fortunately situated, and have a simpler lifestyle and less varied diet as a result. READ MORE about this twin clan...

Xantherim: About the Xantherim, or Aeruillin Dwarves, we have not much information at the moment. Their own name for themselves may be different, but as they reside in the city of Kaleff in the Xantian Mountains on the north-eastern coast of Aeruillin, the Compendium authors have taken the liberty of titling them after their region. It is believed that they are primarily bloodworm hunters and gold-miners, extracting the aureate ore from the quartz hills of the Xantians and trading their goods and services with the Shan'Furrionis.

Ylossians: Believed to be semi-mythical ancient dwarven ancestors, now extinct. These stubby, hirsute dwarves only resided in two locations in the Tandala Mountains, and their passionate belief in Aephesvil the Lord of Flint, one of the StoneFathers, is said to have been the cause of their eventual downfall. READ MORE about their tragedy here...

Oremarks of the Thergerim  (insert picture of Hundred Years' Sail here)

Boltgrums: Grey three-pronged white-capped mountain on golden equilateral triangle
Kavogerim: Black square across brown oval ( representing har-eh over face)
Kiingerim: Black square with red diagonal lines (simplification of COA)
Kurakim: Iron chisel on blue horizontal diamond
Mitharims: Bronze anvil and forgehammer on red square
Morgerim: White hand on black vertical diamond
Susilgerim Gray 'arrowhead' diagonally on a light brown pointed oval (simplification of COA)
Tenthrums: Silver pickaxe on green equilateral triangle
Third Northern Sarvonian tribe: Grey rock with silver sparkle on light blue circle
Thrumgolz: Steel hammer on purple vertical rectangle
Xantherim: Unknown


Shelter - Caverns, Cities, and Homes:

The Thergerim preferred mode of life is almost exclusively underground, although they are not technically troglodytic. Rather, they are claustrophiles, enjoying low, somewhat confined spaces. Although they can tolerate sunlight, it is neither comfortable physically for them - their pale skin turns red and painful if directly exposed for a full day, just as a human child's might - nor preferred. Dwarves who do choose to dwell aboveground (and there are a number, mostly engaged in mercantile professions that allow them to send extensive profits or luxuries back to their home clan) tend to live in dwellings that mimic caves, wear protective clothing, and do most of their business in the early evening or after sundown. The few dwarven mercenaries, chemists, mages, and smiths that have also chosen a surface life still try to maintain some sort of contact with their birthclan, even if it is only in short 'visits' a decade or so apart. It's usually on an individual basis that a dwarf decides to live above ground, and it's usually the bachelor dwarves who will remain unmarried and sublimate their energy in work or war!


(Insert Quellion's picture here: ) Picture description. A dwarven dwelling is usually a large cavern, like an ancient volcanic dome, its very apex supported by a huge carved shaft of stone. The shaft splits into graceful buttressed arches near the floor, and from its hollow centre a beam of light falls on the Timeclock's engraved face. Image by Quellion.


In general, however, the dwarven race voluntarily confines itself to the tunnels, caverns, and excavations of the mountain fastnesses they claim as their portion of Caelereth. They keep to themselves, and are generally quite secretive about the location of their underground towns, preferring to use separate, neutral 'trading posts' rather than allow other races into their desmenes or travel frequently into human cities. Their main purpose in life - apart from brewing and drinking vast amounts of dwarven ale - is to mine the precious ores from the rocks of Aéér'aíí'cháán and to smith the result into beautifully crafted treasures, artefacts, and weapons. It is usually acknowledged that a dwarven sword or piece of armour is of higher quality and brings higher prices than its human-forged counterpart, although the metallic additive mithrilan (which see) now allows other races to achieve marvellously similar results.

The Thergerim obviously do not have 'cities' as we would recognize them. Rather, they have 'home caverns' - extensive underground excavations or natural caves which form the centre hub for a network of public tunnels and private cave quarters. Shafts are sunk deep into the bones of Caelereth for waste disposal, mining access, hotspring plumbing, and so on. There may even be narrow 'travel tunnels' which connect one clan to the next across vast distances underground, but the Thergerim are completely noncommittal when questioned on this matter, no matter how subtly or with what amounts of ale.

Major 'home caverns' that are known (more or less) to humans are the famous Kor Mithrid on the northwestern flanks of the Mithral range in Manthria, Tyr Donion and Tyr Ethran (smaller caverns also in Manthria), and Tyr Thromgolin in central Sarvonia, just above the Rimmerins Ring area.

READ MORE: For details about Thergerim nature and habits, and a deftly-sketched picture of everyday dwarven life, see the entry on Een Puvtyr, a cavern home of the Thrumgolz clan.

Family, Society, & Culture :

Thergerim are granted a life span of about two and a half centuries, with only a few exceptionally sturdy dwarves reaching the full three hundred years. Understandably, they take their time in making important decisions, such as whom to marry. However, at the age of ninety years dwarves enter the so-called Age of Choosing / Time of Choosing (sexual maturity - known as "Huregozar" in females, "Baregozar" in males - which occurs at an age of approximately 90 human years(link to the Earth Constellations entry) . At this point they are expected to begin making an active attempt to gain a mate - after a hundred and fifty they are seen as somewhat less marriageable material!

At least, this is true for males; it is rarely difficult for the women of the Thergerim, as unlike humans where male and female are born in roughly equal numbers, dwarven males outnumber dwarven females by a proportion of three to two. In other words, in any group of five dwarves, there will be three males and two females. This will inevitably result in two couples and one bachelor - that single male representing one-fifth of the total clan. It is almost inevitable that these dwarven bachelors will sublimate their energies in work and travel - the dwarves you will meet aboveground, hiring themselves out as dedicated mercenaries, running forgeshops in the human cities, managing trading posts, or captaining orebarges (for the most daring) are almost exclusively from this group. This is yet another reason why humans rarely meet dwarven females, who prefer the spacious sanctuaries of their underground cavern networks. Also, this dedication to their occupation, undistracted by the demands of mate and child, may explain the long-standing tradition of dwarven workmanship being equated with the highest quality of craftsmanship and durability.

READ MORE: See the entry on Dwarven Marriage, Mating, and Reproduction for further fascinating details of gender, sexuality, marriage rituals, and childbirth, including the reason why dwarves and humans cannot cross-breed!

READ MORE: See the entry on Aging, Death and Funerals for further information about dwarven customs, including a record of one typical funeral...


Government & Laws:

Almost all Thergerim clans govern themselves in a type of democratic monarchy; they are led by a single Gornegron, or clan chieftain (who may be male or female) who is elected by common consensus. Every dwarf in the cavern who is past the Age of Choosing may vote for a candidate out of a small pool of well-known individuals who have put themselves forward. Whichever dwarf receives the second-highest number of votes will become the subleader or "Gorkavon", literally "travel-chief". Her responsibility will be to support the Gornegron, put forward various dissenting points of view, travel to clan meetings when the chieftain is unable to do so, and generally assist with whatever other administrative work is required.

The Gornegron and Gorkavon will serve for the next fifty years or until they are no longer able to hold office, whichever comes first. In practice, the 'election' is actually held every twenty-five years so that the period of service of an old chieftain and his new subleader will overlap, and viceversa - thus there are never two new dwarves in office at the same time. Unless the Gornegron has been remarkably unpopular for his first half-term, he generally retains his office, and the vote is tacitly cast only for the subleader. Again, the same is true in reverse when the Gornegron is finished in office and the Gorkavon's position still has twenty-five years to go; she will not be replaced unless there is a consensus among the clan that her decisions have been unwise.

Under these two leading dwarves sits a Trutharoon (Council, literally, 'rock family circle') composed of well-known and respected clan members who are chosen by their peers from a specific age group. Most Thergerim use the Council as a representative for the clan, or a sort of sieve to decide what is best for the clan as a whole, and the Gornegron makes decisions with the Council's assistance and information. If there is opposition or a varying point of view, the Thergerim patiently but bluntly state and restate their cases until they can reach a consensus, no matter how long this takes . Generally the Gornegron will resolve an issue before it becomes a deadlock or resentments can build up.

When the Thergerim meet with humans for any ritual or barter purpose, the Gorkavon or subleader (for reasons of security not the chieftain him or herself) and a Denirim must be present, along with the most skilled workmen of whichever trades are represented in the barter. The Denirim must also be present at Trutharoon meetings, births, deaths, weddings, and other significant occasions in dwarven life.

It is known that Gornegrons of all clans communicate frequently via batcode and drum-message, and doubtless there are discussions and agreements which allow the clans to retain some sort of unified law system which follows the precepts of Thergerim culture, for though each clan has its own unique way of living and characteristics, nonetheless to be born a dwarf is to be Thergerim. Blunt honesty, devout faith, and marital committment are only a few of the unshakeable dwarven tenets which are apparent to humans - though some of us might add a dedication to quality food and ale as equally important!


Diet - Food, Tableware, and Manners:

As dwarves live underground, you might imagine that their diet is somewhat limited, especially in the matter of plants - perhaps only mushrooms and algae… But the inventive Thergerim have a variety of ways to procure food, and quite a variety of diet; though it does indeed include mushrooms of various sorts, it also includes fresh vegetables, fish, meat, fruits, and a wide array of flavorings. In general the Thergerim like their food textured and spicy!

READ MORE: The Dwarven Diet entry lets you discover more about what the dwarves eat - and how they eat it!


Beliefs & Religion:

Trum-Baroll, the dwarves say, is the God who created the world and all things within it, from his own substance.

Trum-Baroll lay sleeping in the Great Dark.
He awoke.
There was nothing but Trum-Baroll.
So he scratched his head and dust fell.
Then there was earth.
He spat, and water came upon the earth.
He pulled a hair from his beard.
Trees and all growing things sprang up
Then Trum-Baroll shouted, and his Hammer became.
He coughed, and the Chisel was born.
So did Trum-Baroll begin to carve,
And all things were made from that time.

(translated from the RockTales, Tablet One)

He then carved the Un'Sthommerons from various rocks, and they in their turn carved the Thergerim from granite. Of course, they experimented with other substances first, such as wood, copper, iron, and so on, which were found to be insufficiently sturdy and were tossed out of the forge door upon the surface of the earth. Thus the elves, Brownies, orcs, hobbits, gnomes and other races came to be.

"But the Thergerim found favour in the eyes of Trum-Baroll when the Un'Sthommerons brought them before him, and he graced them with life and the blessing to live beneath the surface of the earth and be its masters…" (translated from the RockTales, Tablet One)


READ MORE: Learn how Trum-Barol and Urtengor are similar, discover the names and characteristics of the great Un'Sthommerons, and find out about the dwarven religious book, the Trumesdrummerons...

Myths & Legends:

You may choose one of these titles to read the full story or to obtain further information about some of the most cherished stories of the Thergerim.

- How the World Was Made
- The Making of the Stars
- Brok Strongarm
- Denilou the Sacred Isle

Celebrations & Ceremonies:

There are any number of holidays, feasts, and celebrations for the Thergerim. Some are celebrated by all dwarves, while others are specific to one clan. READ MORE about the holidays of the Thergerim, their jokes and tongue-twisters, and their awards, based on their unique concept of personal honour, here.

Calendar & Timetelling:

Body text here.

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"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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