Flintlocks & Fireballs
- In game mechanical terms, Dwarves are identical to dwarves as described in D&D4e.
The Dourmoor occupation
Dwarves are a race in bondage. Since the dwarves of Fort Netherfael destroyed all links to the surface, Dourmoor has been under Imperial control, and its inhabitants little more than serfs.
In the eyes of the Church, Dwarves are of value only as slaves: Incarnationist dogma holds that nonhumans cannot cultivate the Divine within themselves, and so cannot truly aspire to higher things. In the eyes of the the Imperial viceroys who administrate Dourmoor, they are a resource to be exploited. In the eyes of the Rebellion, they are a powerful potential ally.
In Imperial law, dwarves have as much a right to freedom as anybody else; but the vast majority of dwarves in the Dourmoor province are indentured servants, in entirely legal debt to the owners of vast work-camps, and unlikely ever to escape from it.
Dwarves do not have a religion as such, though the array of rituals that a dwarf must know and perform can seem similar. Dwarfish tradition dictates a correct way to prepare food, to wash, to get up in the morning, to brush one’s hair and to do business (the obsessive following of which is what earned the dwarves their reputation for being obsessed with gold; in reality, it’s not that they love gold so much as they’re not comfortable with it changing hands until they’ve crossed the Is and dotted the Ts). Without his customs, a dwarf is just a short individual with a beard and an axe; with customs, he’s the latest page in a saga stretching from thousands of years ago until the present day.
Every good dwarf knows who his king is
The position of king among dwarves is rather a complicated one. A king isn’t just a ruler. He’s who guides you, who teaches you what’s right and what’s wrong, who steers you in the right direction what you’re lost. There’s something like one king to every thirty families, sometimes less. Your king is your moral compass, and in return, you let him make the decisions you’re not wise enough to make. The process of becoming a king is far from formal — almost the only thing in dwarven life that isn’t, actually. It’s simply a case of being so convincing that a child’s parents name you as their baby’s king when he’s born. Changing a king later in life is far more of a big deal, and is the kind of decision that tears families apart.
Then there’s the matter of the household. It’s sometimes said that a king’s power ends at the doorstep, and that’s not completely wrong. A good wife is king of her own house: she manages the accounts, organises the cooks, the maids, the farmhands. A dwarf who comes home and does exactly as his wife says isn’t henpecked or subservient: he’s doing exactly as he should, and acknowledging the expertise of a capable professional in her own terrain.
Of course, where there are traditions and society there are always those who step outside of those traditions and that society, and in recent years a number of dwarves have begun to turn their back on their history in the hopes of getting better treatment from the Empire, citing their abandonment by the Netherfael dwarves and a need to move with the times. Equally, dwarven renegades are flocking to the Rebellion’s standards in the hope of winning freedom for their people. And while Dourmoor’s kings (a good dwarf must always have a king, even when the king toils in the field alongside him for the same pitiful pay) refuse to assist the rebellion, there are stories that they are planning something. But then, in the Empire there are always stories that the dwarves are planning something.