For millennia, the dwarves live in isolation behind their great stone wall in the nation of Thehn. Ophiduan records indicate the dwarves came to the surface thousands of years ago from a cavern, adjusting to life on the surface and driving out the fractured human tribes and erecting their wall. The wall was a towering edifice, 800 feet tall and made of various stones, reinforced with arcane power. The wall was 30 feet wide at the top, with various watch houses and small keeps. The only break in the wall was upon the waters of the crystal sea, though the island keep of Morval kept any foreign ships from entering their natural harbour. Through vigilance, Thehn remained an isolated kingdom for the dwarves for thousands of years.
Inside were cities separated by lush farmland. The dwarves had turned Thehn into a paradise that gave them all of the resources that they needed, with the occasional catch of fish from the crystal lake. Internecine conflicts between the clans were arbitrated by the Ranokan, law-keepers and advocates that tried to keep the peace. There were conflicts, but for the most part, Thehn had not experienced true war or hardship for centuries. For many other races, it would have been easy to slide into decadence and indolence, but not for the dwarves. They maintained military training as a matter of cultural pride, with a fear of the barbarian races outside the walls also kept alive through the generations.
The dwarves had no gods of their own, having come to the surface after untold years of toil under a royal line that presented themselves as living gods. Having turned against these false gods, they refused to follow the edicts of any others, despite their power. The war was a conflict, that like all things, they stayed out of behind their wall.
Still, like so many other races that lacked faith, they were punished. Clan Dralkhan was the first to report a madness amongst some of their members, which their healers could not treat or understand. The true turning point was the night that some of these patients escaped, and began to bite and devour dwarven flesh. They had turned into foul and ravenous undead, and their bite spread the disease to those that survived the attack. Clan Dralkhan controlled the central lands of Thehn, and the monsters began to spread out, multiplying and devouring faster than most could flee.
For months, the dwarves desperately battled against this horror, until it was clear they had no choice but the most dire: Fleeing Thehn. The evacuation was not an orderly affair, and less than 1/5th of the dwarven population escaped Thehn before it fell.
Now Thehn is a hellscape that belongs to the dead. The hungering do not decay as normal zombies do, and are as dangerous as ever. The hungering rule this land now, mindless undead that occasionally escape the walls of Thehn to terrorise the lands surrounding them. Clan Marek patrols the walls, taking the duty upon themselves to keep the hungering inside, a duty that is not always successful.
The culture of the dwarves is no longer located in Thehn, as the dwarves have moved throughout the continent. Their own culture is split between the three core cultures:
The Dokari consider themselves "True Dwarves" and attempt to keep old traditions of isolation, family loyalty and clan culture. Though they deal with outsiders, they resist integrating fully into their new cultures, trying to keep their culture alive.
The Vetakis are the wandering traders, and their caravan trains are renowned for security and reliability. Each caravan train is almost a clan unto itself, and each has their own unique traditions and quirks.
"Imbrukar" began as a pejorative slur for those dwarves who abandoned the old ways. Now many such dwarves use the term with pride.
Traditional dwarven attire was long robes in clan colours. Now most dwarves wear some form of this attire, but depending on their subculture wear it in different ways. The Dokari keep to their clan colours, the Vetakis go with brighter and gaudier colours, and the Imbrukar dress in more modern ways but often with some dwarven influence.
Language and Names
Dwarven names usually consist of hard consonant sounds. Soft consonants are rarely used, and the language itself follows suit, sounding like a series of short syllables strung together in deliberate and cautious ways. Dokari often only speak dwarven and trade tongue, refusing to learn the languages of lesser races. Vetakis are quite polyglot, usually learning several languages to better facilitate trade.
Dwarves have slight differentations on first names. All names are technically male, with female names simply adding an open vowel sound to the end of male names. Clan names always have an embedded "L" sound. Dwarven names have a traditional structure that the Dokari still utilise:
(First name) (Adult name) (Clan Name)
Vetakis use a slightly different structure, Removing the Clan name and replacing it with a second adult name.
Imbrukar often simply use first and Clan names, but this is not always the case, as some will use just first and adult names.
First Names (Male form): Arkad, Azrek, Beltan, Borek, Duram, Ferkat, Gabin, Giram, Jakan, Jirok, Kamek, Kurik, Makun, Merak, Muztar, Rikor, Rogen, Terak, Tomar, Varek, Vomor.
Adult names are chosen by the Dwarf at the age of majority, and are personalised to them.
Clan names: Bralhen, Dralkhen, Furklon, Glaruk, Haklir, Jonlak, Klarvok, Marlek, Norlek, Relnur, Torvorlk, Viklir.