|+1 (+1/8 levels) racial bonus to Engineering|
|Bonus Feats||Livers Need Not Apply|
Slow and Steady
Dwarves are often referred to as "children of stone," and despite their humanoid bodies, this description is largely accurate. Since their arrival in Hallow, dwarves have lived in deep mines and fortresses known as "stoneholds". It is of course true that dwarves live in other places as well – cities, above-ground fortresses, and in nearly any place that contains a functioning forge – but all such places of residence are considered temporary by dwarves, no matter how long they actually live in them.
If conditions get bad outside (and as far as dwarves are concerned, things aren’t "bad" until they involve a horrifying natural disaster, total war, or all-consuming social unrest), dwarves tend to pack up and fall back to a stonehold, often triggering a mass exodus when they do. Dwarves will go to nearly any length to either die in a stonehold or ensure that their remains are taken there.
According to most people, this tendency simply reflects the fundamental insularity and arrogance of Hallow's master craftsmen. It's certainly true that dwarves, taken as a whole, tend to be arrogant and insular, but there’s actually a good reason for their behavior.
Dwarf society is rooted in the stone far more than most non-dwarves realize. The first dwarves in Hallow brought with them a few slabs of magically-preserved stone called dataliths, along with the lore of how to craft them. On the surface of these dataliths, one can find tiny runes containing the history of the dwarves who were brought to Hallow and those who have lived there since. The keepers of dataliths are the most respected members of dwarven society, and virtually every dwarf would die to preserve the datalith of the dwarf's home stonehold, as well as that of another stonehold.
Smaller personal dataliths are commonly used by dwarves to record observations, experiences, and transactions. Each year, a stonehold celebrates a ritual in which all the dataliths of dwarves who died in the past year are copied to the stonehold's main datalith. The greatest honor any dwarf can receive is for the information on his or her datalith to be considered so important that it is transferred to the stonehold’s datalith immediately on death instead of at the annual ritual; the worst punishment any dwarf can suffer is for his or her datalith to be rejected as unreliable or unworthy.
Dwarves strive towards rationality and objectivity in all of their interactions, since the reliability of their statements and actions is the primary metric on which they are judged by their peers and their stonehold. Dwarves prize intellect and endurance above all other traits, and indeed seem naturally gifted in those areas. Unfortunately, dwarves generally do not value strength of personality, and distrust appeals to emotion or intuition. When dealing with less rational creatures (such as nearly all non-dwarves), dwarves are therefore brusque and often harsh in their interactions. They can react violently to a broken agreement or other breach of trust.
Dwarf political organization varies from stonehold to stonehold, but most are ruled by oligarchs who can be removed in cases of abuse of power. In general, oligarchs are selected from past keepers of the dataliths, and have such a long record of trustworthiness that none dare challenge them without proof of truly awful behavior. A few stoneholds with ancient ties to gnome communities are ruled by hereditary monarchies, but all contain exceptionally stringent tests designed to weed out unreliable heirs.
The most notable exception to the dwarven norms of rationality in all things is a group who have developed a strange martial art based on consuming huge amounts of alcohol. These dwarves imbibe extensively prior to any confrontation or battle, and display unbelievable feats of strength, healing, and, on occasion, waves of sheer destructive force. Most strongholds ban these brawlers, while those that welcome them generally implant them with crystal orbs that magically record their actions and sensations for inclusion in the drunken masters' dataliths, since the recollections of chronic alcoholics are not always precise or trustworthy. Recently, the drunken masters’ lore have spread to the outside world, with members of other races learning and using the secrets of their martial art.
Dwarves place a great importance on their clan name, which is often the first thing exchanged when two unfamiliar dwarves greet each other. Typical dwarf names will include highlight the honor, bravery, fighting style, heirloom, or some other notable and impressive aspect of the dwarf or his clan. Examples of such names are: Farir Axebearer, Fistbeard Beardfist, Sigurd Blackhammer, Ebenezer Clutchpurse, Varin Firewalker, Rhes Goldcutter, Khandar Magehand, Janus Invictus Malleolus, Mangus von Mangusson, and Valhim Rockbeard.
Dwarven Technology and Magic
Magical and technological items of dwarf manufacture are among the most desired in all of Hallow, as practically all such items have been developed, tested, and crafted to exceptionally high standards. The full extent of dwarven technical achievements is still largely a secret, but there is no doubt that many strange and terrible devices exist deep in the stoneholds. Dwarf engineers devised Hallow's first explosives some centuries ago, and there is little doubt that the primitive firearms that have spread throughout much of Hallow have much more advanced counterparts in dwarf forges and armories. Even now, magically-augmented casings containing both propellant and projectile are being used in a few deadly firearms on Hallow’s battlefields and darkest alleys.
Aside from weapons, dwarves can design (or reverse-engineer) and build almost anything they consider useful. Dwarves claim to have developed the first timepieces in Hallow; while this statement may or may not be true, there is no doubt that dwarf-built timepieces are compact, sturdy, and extremely accurate. Of course, technology and magical items that record and preserve information are another dwarf specialty, and some of the most amazing such devices are carefully guarded in their vaults.