The best weapons and armour in Fiara come from the dark slopes of the Grimwarg Peaks and the snow-covered summits of the Windwall Mountains, items that are highly valued and traded among the races of the light. These amazing wares are forged by the smiths of the dwarves, a race small in height, but of amazing strength and unshakeable courage. Like the elves, the dwarves are an ancient race that survived the reign of the dragons hidden deep in the labyrinth of caverns under the Windwall Mountains. While the giant lizards ruled the air, the dwarves drove the mines and shafts of their stony home deeper and deeper in the rock. There, they found discovered their destiny to work with rock and ore, bonding with the spirits of the earth and the god whose realm is the rock foundation of the world. They became the servants of Bjarne, the Soulsmith and Warrior God, who deep under the surface forges the souls of all living creatures until they become strong and solid. And so it came that the dwarves also became a strong race, a race of builders and blacksmiths, but also of warriors and heroes.
Courage and strength are the pillars of their life, and despite being known for a certain greed for gold and other jewelry, they are the only values they truly recognize. And though they may often seem reserved and condescending, they are always ready to help a true friend in need of their aide. Today the dwarves not only live in the dark shafts under the peaks of Grimwarg, but have created imposing cities of stone where they trade with the other races of the light. These are Fastholme, which stands under the old mines at the foot of the Grimwarg Mountains, and Windholme, which is an imposing sight in front of the snow-covered peaks of the Windwall, where it provides cover from the southern storms. There, the hammers of the master smiths ring constantly and merchants loaded with the most valuable of steel and silver travel to all regions of Fiara. And when it comes to war, the closed ranks of dwarf warriors will march from there with their indestructible armour and feared axes, always ready to support their brothers of the light.
The dwarf workers are no untrained laymen, like other races. They are also not inexperienced youths who must first prove themselves or work their way up the social hierarchy. Dwarf workers are artists and masters, highly regarded by their peers. They form rock and metal to create wondrous buildings and wares of quality and precision that no other race can hope to attain. It is never silent in the mines and quarries, generation after generation the hammers of this strong race ring out, constantly striving to surpass and improve upon their elder’s skills to create even better items and buildings.
As the people of the War God, no dwarf can go without being trained to fight. And fearsome fighters they are, swinging their axes on the battlefield with the same force and precision as the hammer on their anvil. Always ready to fight for their people and god at any time, any place, the heart of every dwarf is a warrior’s heart. Although the militia do not possess the stunning armour and decorated weapons of the warriors, many a cowardly attack on a dwarf settlement has been beaten back by their courageous ranks. They guard, secure and work in times of peace, and whenever the horns of war sound, they are ready to exchange their tools for weapons.
The foundation of all stories and legends of the dwarf people are the warriors, and may of these seemingly tall tales of courage and heroics are indeed true. There has never been a war in Fiara that has gone without the songs and heroic deeds of the dwarf warriors. They are legend, a prime example of courage for all peoples of the light. Uncounted armies that threatened to falter under the stream of the dark races have found hope and order in the steadfast march and battle horns of the dwarf warriors.
A warrior dedicates his life to Bjarne, constantly striving to forge his own soul in the fires of challenge and purify it for coming generations. They do not fear death, for their god will forge a new life from their soul so long as they please him through courage and honour.
As capable the dwarves are of building magnificent structures, they are just as skilled at destroying them. To this end, the dwarf smiths build great rams the demolishers use to tear down their foe’s buildings. They drive the metal heads of these rams into the weak points and broken walls of enemy constructions, causing even proud fortresses and castles to collapse like a house of cards under the attack of dwarf foot soldiers.
And though little is known about the demolishers among the races of the light, they have not seldom been the blow that brought about victory. Hardly a commander anticipates these elderly master builders using their extensive knowledge as a weapon, realising the danger only when it is already to late, their walls and fortifications collapsing around them.
As strict as Bjarne’s judgement over his followers may be, the more powerful his strength and helpfulness when he comes to their aide. Through song and prayer, the battlepriests channel his power to the dwarves, giving them the legendary strength and instilling fear into their enemies’ hearts. From the powerful lungs of the priests the songs sound out across the battlefield, and as long as they can be heard, a dwarven army will not falter.
Thus the battlepriests are the core of any dwarven army and the source of their strength, but also their conscience, a constant reminder not to bring shame on the people of the forge. Since many priests were at one time warriors, they hardly differ from their brothers when it comes to prowess on the battlefield. Anyone trying to break an armies courage by attacking the priests may well be in for a grim surprise.
The dwarf mines and forges have always been a popular target for conquest. Their treasures and weapons are the key to victory and wealth, to dominance and power over Fiara. So also thought the Fial Darg as again and again they threw their armies against the dwarven fortresses. For days on end, the dark princes rained fire and rock down on the dwarven fortifications, their siege towers advancing relentlessly.
Soon, the dwarf kings realised that their warriors’ armour, made for marching and the battlefield, was too open to withstand the constant barrage of projectiles.
From this realisation came the heavy armour and great shields of the Defenders, who forewith constitute the impenetrable ranks on the battlements, repelling the waves of darkness.
Bjarne’s servants are not the only inhabitants of the depths of the earth. They are also home to the demons of the Red Horde, who incessantly seek flesh and a path to the light. Often, when dwarves dug their mines too deep, they would break through to the fiery caverns of the Horde and soon, the mineshaft would be full of demons, flames and death, leaving the workers little chance of escape.
Thus Watchmen accompany the miners into the shafts, to protect them from the dark secrets of the depths. They stand firm in the suffocating breath of the demons and secure the shaft until the workers have escaped and can close the tunnel. Many have found their grave in the course of duty under the mountains.
However, a Watchman’s weapons and amour are not only suitable for battle underground, these courageous warriors are also a welcome reinforcement on any battlefield or battlement.
From the ranks of the Elders come the leaders of the dwarves. They are high priests and kings, princes and warlords, who steer the destiny of the realms in great gatherings. In the depths, they convene at great tables of stone to consult and seek their god’s guidance. Should an envoy of another race of the light seek help from the dwarves, he would come before the Elders and ask their assistance. And when the counsel rings the hammers of war, they lead their armies from the stony halls and mountains to aide their comrades at arms or protect the unity of the light.
As priests, the Elders are blessed with Bjarne’s power, and their song empowers their armies as well. As warriors, they are equipped with the best armour, forged of pure Moonsilver, their weapons sanctified by the might of the god of war. Their experience and courage are exemplary, spurring any warriors around them, and as soon as there is a possibility, and elder will fearlessly face the enemy leader in a duel, to bring him down in Bjarne’s name.
Moonsilver is rare and difficult to work, but it is the culmination of any warrior’s career to one day forge his own armour and weapons from this precious metal. It is a long and arduous path that leads this dream’s fulfilment, however, a path lined with many victorious battles and deep devotion to the God of War. When this journey is over and the last hammer blows ring, when the warrior leaves the forge clad in gleaming Moonsilver, a new era in his life begins. What follows is often legend.
The Elite are the undefeatable core of the dwarven armies, a glittering mountain in the storm of darkness. Never will their ranks falter, and any slain from their midst will be avenged a thousandfold with whirling axes. And though the armies of the light may tremble at the sight of the dark hordes, hope remains as long as the ranks of silver armour stand, an armour no blood can stain, that shines like a star of hope in the death-bringing darkness.