Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Dwarf—Dharranim Dwarfs, of Zharen-Darthach

Dwarf—Dharranim Dwarfs, of Zharen-Darthach


The Dharranim dwarfs are a large group of dwarf tribes that joined into a tribal confederation in their ancient homeland of Zharen-Barrak, and migrated into the region over 2,500 years ago. The Dharranim established the Kingdom of Zharen-Darthach, and proceeded to build several powerful fortified city-states, most of which are deep within their mountainous homelands, though at least one city-state was built on the surface, as well as several fortified towns and villages. The dwarfs continued to delve deep into the mountains, and carved out majestic, wondrous citadels of stone and crystal. The Dharranim proceeded to dig vast mines, and rip out the precious metals and wealth of the earth. Through the centuries, the Dharranim engaged in numerous wars with invading tribes of orcs and goblins, and suffered thousands of casualties. The wars endured, and at all times, the dwarfs managed to fight the invading humanoids off, even though at various times, the hordes of orcs and goblins had established long-term strongholds in the region. The Dharranim have steadily and ruthlessly marched against these orc and goblin strongholds, and stormed them with fire and steel, bringing death and destruction to vast hordes of the dark, savage creatures. Nonetheless, the orcs and goblins have always returned, even though at times it required decades or centuries on occasion, for them to recover from such crushing wars.

Over the centuries, the dwarfs gradually engaged in trade with the elves of Gallarond, and the numerous generations of various human tribes that have migrated into the region, and now recently, with the Kingdom of Varanthus. The dwarfs have always been secretive of their rich mountain realm, and have kept the gates leading into their subterranean kingdom well-hidden. Furthermore, the Dharranim have long-embraced a policy of secrecy and isolation, and restricted non-dwarfs from even seeing or visiting the deeper fortress-cities of the Kingdom of Zharen-Darthach. Some human sages believe that through the centuries, there have been some few non-dwarf visitors deeper into the dwarf realm, and point to a few journals and ancient tomes hinting at descriptions and obscure details of the region. Whatever the truth of the matter, the dwarfs of the Kingdom of Zharen-Darthach have an official policy of secrecy and isolation, and do not allow non-dwarfs to enter beyond the specially selected city-state of Brimnor, and local dwarf towns surrounding the great city.

Physical Appearance

Dwarfs are short, broad humanoids of great strength and fortitude. In form, dwarfs are thick, muscular, and somewhat broader than a proportional human. While dwarfs are substantially heavier than their height would generally suggest appropriate, such increased weight is from a dense physique, heavier bones, and greater muscle-mass, as opposed to being from an excess of fat. While most dwarfs have strong, impressive physiques, some dwarfs do become overweight, fat or even obese, though such is uncommon. Dharranim dwarfs usually have skin tones that are pale-white, florid-white, or occasionally olive-white. The Dharranim dwarfs are most often blonde haired, typically having ash-blonde, honey-blonde, or golden-blonde hair, though not always so. The Dharranim dwarfs have eyes that are typically bright-blue, blue-grey, ice-blue, blue-green, or dark-grey in color, though not always so.

The Dharranim dwarfs are typically strong-limbed, with broad-shoulders, deep chests, and hairy. The male Dharranim dwarfs have fairly thick hair on their chests, back and stomach, as well as their powerful, muscular arms and legs. The dwarfs grow thick, full beards, and typically wear their thick hair long and wild. Male dwarfs occasionally braid their long hair, which is typically worn to their shoulders or the middle of their back in length. Female dwarfs usually wear their hair in long, beautiful braids. The females of the Dharranim do not grow or wear beards, as such is merely an outlandish superstition usually embraced by the humans—though the Dharranim often believe that the elves of Gallarond must have started such a ridiculous belief.

Female dwarfs are often broad-shouldered, voluptuous and thick, with strong, thick legs and hips. The female Dharranim often wear subtle, floral or earthy perfumes, and are generally simple in their preferences of wearing jewelry, and avoid appearing to be ostentatious. Dharranim females are, while as noted, thick, broad, and voluptuous, they are not unattractive, and in general, possess a demeanor and form that most humans would view as quite feminine. The Dharranim females customarily shave the hair from their legs—though not from under their arms, or anywhere else on their bodies. Dharranim females take great pride and joy in combing their long, thick hair, and wearing it long and curled or in thick braids. The Dharranim typically have larger noses, with somewhat thick bridges, and large, broad feet. Male dwarfs are fond of joking to humans and others in a sarcastic manner—that yes, dwarf women bathe regularly, too. Some human sages that have seen dwarf women have described them as being much like thick, strong barbarian women from the blonde-haired tribes of northern forests—often quite attractive, though merely thickly-built—and shorter by a good foot or more.

Male dwarfs love jewelry of all kinds, though they favour neck and arm torcs, rings, heavy necklaces and thick amulets. Female dwarfs also love fine jewelry, and especially favour necklaces, rings, earrings, bracelets, and occasionally nose-rings. Male dwarfs typically wear thick, long-sleeved shirts and embroidered tunics, as well as full-length trousers, heavy, finely-made boots, and flowing cloaks that are carefully embroidered and feature finely-crafted brooches of gold or silver, often intricately decorated with some ferocious animal depiction, and often jeweled as well. Female dwarfs typically dress in a similar manner as male dwarfs, especially when working or particularly whenever they are beyond the gates of the city or traveling abroad. At home, deep in their fortified walls and such, however, dwarf females typically wear fine, embroidered blouses and tunics, flowing skirts, soft leather boots or shoes, and brightly-colored cloaks.

N.B: Player Characters are encouraged to review the Dharranim Dwarf Character Tables, below.

Dharranim Dwarfs are short, broad-shouldered, and strong humanoids, skilled in living underground, in the mountains, and working with stone and metal. Generally, Dharranim Dwarfs are strong and vigorous, and gain a +1 bonus to Strength at character generation, as well as a +1 bonus to Constitution at character generation. The dwarfs are renowned for their famous stubbornness and fierce resolve, and gain a +1 bonus to Wisdom at character generation. To non-dwarfs, Dharranim Dwarfs are typically very direct, rough and often harsh and insensitive in their demeanor and ways of speaking and relating to others. Because of their tendency to be rough and insensitive, Dharranim Dwarfs suffer a -2 penalty to Charisma at character generation. However, a Dharranim Dwarf’s penalized Charisma score only affects non-dwarfs; dwarfs respond and view the individual dwarf as having the original base Charisma score for all related aspects of social interaction and leadership. Dharranim Dwarfs typically seem to be physically intimidating, rough, and generally unappealing in form and appearance to non-dwarfs. Because of this impression, Dharranim Dwarfs suffer a -1 penalty to their Comeliness score at character generation. However, the lower Comeliness score applies only to social interactions with non-dwarfs—the Dharranim Dwarfs happen to believe they are a gloriously handsome and fine race, and thus, the original base Comeliness score applies to all social interactions with other dwarfs.

Dharranim Character Ability Summary
+1 Strength
+1 Constitution
+1 Wisdom
-2 Charisma
-1 Comeliness

Dharranim Dwarf Character Tables

Dharranim Dwarf Character Skin Tone
Dice Roll/Skin Tone
01-40%: White-Pale
41-70%: White-Florrid
71-90%: White-Olive
91-00%: White-Tan

Dharranim Dwarf Characters Hair
Dice Roll/Hair Color
01-04%: Auburn
05-07%: Reddish
08-10%: Red-Copper
11-30%: Ash-Blonde
31-45%: Honey-Blonde
46-60%: Golden-Blonde
61-65%: Brown, Dark
66-70%: Brown, Chestnut
71-75%: Brown, Golden
76-80%: Brown, Honey
81-90%: Black-Brown
91-00%: Ebony-Black

Dharranim Dwarf Characters Eyes
Dice Roll/Eye Color
01-20%: Bright Blue
21-35%: Blue-Grey
36-45%: Blue-Green
46-55%: Ice-Blue
56-66%: Dark Grey
67-74%: Iron-Grey
75-82%: Pale-Grey
83-90%: Ice-Grey
91-96%: Grey-Green
97-00%: Pale-Green

Dharranim Dwarf Height and Weight Tables

Male Dwarf Base Height: 4’2”-5’0”; (4’0” + 2d6”);
Average Height: 4’6”
Male Dwarf Base Weight: 132-240-lbs; (120+12d10)
Average Weight: 180-lbs.

Female Dwarf Base Height: 4’0”-4’10”; (3’10” +2d6”);
Average Height: 4’4”
Female Dwarf Base Weight: 108-180-lbs; (100+8d10-lbs);
Average Weight: 140-lbs.


The dwarfs of Zharen-Darthach are ruled by a powerful High King. The High King rules over a strong realm of city-states, each of which is ruled by a king. Each king is served by a large group of nobles and warriors, as well as tribal elders, priests, rune-casters, bards, and merchant-princes. In most domestic issues, each Dharranim city-state has considerable freedom, though the decrees of the High King always carry great weight and influence. The High King possesses most powers and authority of an absolute monarch.

Politically, the Dharranim are reclusive and secretive concerning their kingdom, and non-dwarfs are typically restricted to seeing and visiting only the fortress-city of Brimnor, located on the surface, and established along a cluster of hills overlooking a large lake. Dwarf merchant-princes are organized into powerful guilds that integrate royal economic policies with their own customs of operation concerning exportation of goods to foreign lands. Dwarf merchant-guilds are closely allied to maintain very high prices and demand for a whole range of dwarf-produced goods and resources.

In foreign policy and cultural interactions with other, foreign societies, the dwarfs are isolationist and defensive. The dwarfs are very cautious about engaging in any kind of formal alliance, and are typically uninterested in any kind of involvement with foreign entanglements, treaties, and petty wars. Under the most dire and compelling circumstances, and with careful consideration, the dwarfs may at times be willing to embrace various treaties or alliances with human tribes or kingdoms in the region. The Dharranim dwarfs generally do not like the elves of Gallarond, though the two realms do engage in some limited trade agreements. The elves—like any other non-dwarf—are restricted to seeing and visiting the fortress-city of Brimnor.


The Dharranim Dwarfs are a proud and ancient culture that has endured for some 2500 years, since the founding of the kingdom. Before the Dharranim tribes established the Kingdom of Zharen-Darthach, they had ancient family and cultural roots in the dwarf kingdom of Zharen-Barrak. The Dharranim Dwarfs are a strict, disciplined, and authoritarian society. The dwarfs are entirely comfortable with organized hierarchies, extensive and elaborate laws, and a long, ancient legalistic tradition. The Dharranim Dwarfs are clannish, stoic, materialistic and suspicious by nature, as well as strong, valiant, stubborn, and opinionated. Dwarfs pride themselves on loyalty, dignity, commitment, and honor.

The dwarfs are fanatically loyal, and devoted to maintaining their traditional values of honor, pride, and dignity. For the dwarfs, their sense of identity is composed of four main elements—their own individual sense of honor and identity; their family honor; the honor of their city-state; and finally, the honor of their kingdom. The Dharranim Dwarfs long ago gradually subsumed their clan identities into city-state identities, as the city-state increasingly created new forms of cultural, political, and social identity. The Dharranim are often harsh, unforgiving, driven, and passionate. The Dharranim are relentless in their commitment to work, and to maintaining the traditional standards of excellence in dwarf products and craftsmanship. The dwarfs despise cowardice, weakness, and laziness, and are direct and straightforward in voicing their opinions and views on many matters.

The Dharranim dwarfs have experienced long centuries of warfare with numerous tribes and kingdoms of orcs and goblins, and have embraced a fierce, warlike culture. The Dharranim Dwarfs hate all orcs and goblins, firmly believing that such vile and wicked races should be hunted down and exterminated without mercy. The dwarfs can often become uncharacteristically emotional, passionate, and very expressive with such issues, as many dwarf kingdoms and countless thousands of dwarf people have been slaughtered over the centuries by the orcs and goblins. The dwarfs view orcs and goblins as roughly on the same level as malicious, diseased and poisonous rats, and therefore feel absolutely no remorse or apprehension about killing female or young orcs and goblins.

The dwarfs typically do not like the elves of Gallarond, as their cultures and customs are so different. The dwarfs typically feel that the elves are entirely too pretentious, fastidious, effeminate, and subject to their emotional passions, rather than submitting themselves to the dictates and demands of duty, honor, and the law. Furthermore, the dwarfs typically feel that the elves are entirely too enamored with perfumes, cosmetics, and fashions, viewing the elven preoccupation and concern with such matters as being fundamentally adolescent, immature and ridiculous—and annoying—even if the dwarfs are often thoroughly amused by such elven customs and attitudes. The dwarfs are often frustrated by the elven tendencies—in the dwarf’s view—to be idealistic, arrogant, and condescending.

Furthermore, and a point of fundamental friction between the two cultures, is that the dwarfs believe that the natural world—all of its elements, resources, and animals—exist to serve them, and their needs and ambitions; whereas the elves hold to a philosophy that is far more about preserving, honoring, and working with nature, the elements, and animal populations. Essentially, while both cultures use and exploit the natural world to various degrees, the point of difference rests in how they are to go about such labours, and what responsibilities they have in the process, as well as any obligations in the aftermath of such decisions and relationships. The dwarfs traditionally feel they have few responsibilities or obligations to the natural world and the animals, while the elves find such attitudes and philosophy careless, disrespectful, and maddening at the least—while many elves feel deeply offended and view such philosophy as being arrogant, greedy and selfish—if not heretical and thoroughly hateful and wicked. Sexually, the dwarfs typically view the elves as being decadent and thoroughly devoted and enslaved to hedonism and sensuality. Naturally, the elves not only disagree with such judgments, but see the dwarfs as being sexually repressed, narrow-minded, prudish and judgmental. Thus, the friction and dislike between the dwarfs and the elves is rooted in a variety of religious, cultural and philosophical causes, and is entirely and thoroughly mutual.

The Dharranim dwarfs generally admire and like humans, to varying degrees, though the dwarfs often are frustrated by the human’s short, all too-brief life-spans, and swiftly changing political policies, and ever-changing economic policies and social attitudes. The dwarfs are typically concerned with the human attitudes of greed, and their willingness to compromise quality for expediency and profit in their work and craftsmanship. However, while the dwarfs are customarily protective, secretive, and often paranoid about human ambitions to steal the dwarf’s treasures—the dwarf’s have had enough positive experiences with the humans to view them in a generally positive light. Of all the nearby human tribes and cultures, the dwarfs hold a genuine and deep respect for the Valloreans, and view the Valloreans as very honourable, valiant, and disciplined.

The Dharranim are deeply patriarchal, and have enduring customs of gender-roles and expectations. For the Dharranim, females are not to engage in warfare and combat except in the most compelling circumstances of defending the home and city-state from direct attack and invasion. While there are ancient traditions within Dharranim myth-cycles concerning dwarf women that are warriors—such examples remain few, and entirely exceptional. There are occasionally female dwarf warriors—though because of the institutionalized prejudice against them within their home society and city-states, most female dwarf warriors enter into a form of personal exile, where they travel out of the dwarf kingdom and seek their fortune in foreign lands. Dwarf women do, however, enjoy considerable professional and economic freedom, and may pursue a great variety of professions and crafts, as well as having the right to own land or property, control their own finances, and enjoy most of the same legal rights and obligations of male dwarfs. Female dwarfs are, however, always expected to perform virtually all domestic tasks and chores, as well as child-care. Of domestic tasks, only brewing, baking, and cooking are considered as appropriate activities for both sexes.

In politics, females are typically restricted from any kind of political voting or participation in any of the city-states. The only notable exceptions are for female dwarf priestesses, who have achieved a high enough status, and enjoy a certain respect and awe for their spiritual insights and wisdom, as well as their mystical powers of divination. Dwarf children are raised strictly, and with great discipline, led in the household by the father. Dwarfs are affectionate towards their families, and love them with great passion, devotion, and commitment.

Economically, the Dharranim dwarfs have a sophisticated, coin-based economy. The Dharranim are excellent craftsmen and produce fine armour, weapons, tools, implements and jewelry, as well as raw metals and fine stone. The dwarfs also trade various minerals, as well as subterranean varieties of mushrooms, lichen, moss, and fish. The Dharranim work to cultivate various crops and industries on the surface, as their lands and holdings include a great range of mountains, ranges of hills, stretches of forests, as well as mountain vales, meadows, lakes and rivers.

The Dharranim dwarfs are often fairly emotionally reserved, but not always. The dwarfs love singing and music, and are especially fond of organizing and participating in communal choirs, which entertain the community with large troupes of singers gathered together, singing in gloriously strong, clear voices, united in outstanding musical harmony. The dwarfs do tend to engage more emotionally and expressively during times of public festivities and parties, or while gathered together with intimate gatherings and celebrations among friends and loved ones. Dwarfs also enjoy playing various games, and love gambling and competitions. Dwarfs have a deep joy for reading and writing, and greatly respect scholars, Loremasters, and people of letters and education. Dwarfs are especially fond of fine, cooked meats and stews, and have a great passion for ales, hard liquors, and tobacco. Many dwarfs smoke, often frequently, and both males and females take great interest in smoking fine tobaccos of different strengths and flavours, and in owning and collecting finely-carved and crafted pipes.

Socially, concerning sexuality and marriage, Dwarfs have fairly open and tolerant attitudes about pre-marital sex, or sex after-marriage, and many unmarried dwarfs are thoroughly promiscuous, engaging in “serial monogamy” of different lovers. Most dwarfs are sexually active—though typically engaged within relationships that are known and seen to be sincere, genuine, and dignified. However, while dwarf society strongly encourages sexual passion in the context of a dignified and committed relationship—anonymous and frivolous sexual relationships are discouraged and strictly frowned upon.

Dwarfs view marriage as something that is deeply sacred and monogamous, and their customs require and expect absolute fidelity for both partners in a marriage. Within the culture of the Dharranim, marriage has strict expectations, and such expectations are vigorously held for the importance of forming families, establishing lineages, as well as the dwarf ideals of moral conduct for married people--which are very important to all dwarfs. Adultery is punished severely—female dwarfs that are found guilty of adultery are thrown into a pit and burned alive. Male dwarfs found guilty of adultery are severely flogged with barbed whips, and rolled in salt, and then condemned to exile for a period of 20 years.

Divorce is an uncommon occurrence—by ancient law, dwarf women may only seek a divorce for a very few severe causes, and must petition a High Magistrate. Likewise, dwarf men must also petition a High Magistrate in order to obtain a divorce. However, male dwarfs enjoy considerably broader freedoms in the causes or reasons for seeking a divorce than female dwarfs. In general, dwarf society greatly disapproves of divorce for any reason but for the most severe of causes, and divorces for lesser causes are simply forbidden. In the cases where a spouse abandons their partner—they are judged harshly and without pity in virtually all social circles, and may suffer severe discrimination and prejudice. By ancient dwarf law, dwarf men have the legal authority and power to kill any wife that has abandoned them, or seeks to do so.

Dwarfs are quite open-minded and tolerant about sexuality before—or after—marriage, as long as no children are born. A female dwarf having a child out of wedlock is something of great shame and immorality, viewed as something entirely foolish, selfish, and heedless of the primary importance of having children within the sanctity and security of marriage, and maintaining the ancient customs of family honor, dignity, and lineage. Dwarf marriage customs are noted and summarized below:

Monogamous; Strict, Formal

Strict: A strict adherence to fidelity and exclusive sexual relations is expected. Violation of these expectations and customs may provoke serious social and or legal consequences. Adultery is often punished with savage torture, and often death sentences are the standard.

Formal: The society has very high standards and strict rules and expectations for any kind of divorce. There may be specific requirements that the couple or people involved must exhibit in order to be allowed to divorce. There may be various significant social and religious stigmas attached to anyone that has been divorced. Children born out of wedlock are likewise social outcasts if such is becomes known.


The Dharranim dwarves of Zharen-Darthach build great temples to their gods, and it is a mark of pride and distinction for a city-state to have the most elaborately decorated and rich temples. Dharranim Dwarf temples are typically large, with a long, open great hall, and many beautifully decorated pillars within. The Dharranim Dwarfs hold seasonal ceremonies and festivals to the gods throughout the year. The Dharranim firmly embrace various customs of omens, prophecies, and divination, especially rune casting, but also mystical dreams and interpretations. Dwarf priests are deeply respected throughout the Dharranim culture, and such priests and priestesses typically hold positions of great power and influence in the Dharranim society. Dwarf priests and priestesses are always involved in leadership of various religiously-based warrior-societies and special cults of dwarf berserkers.

The gods of the Dwarves are noted below:

Dorruna—Supreme goddess of the dwarven pantheon. “Great Mother” and goddess of earth, water, nature, fertility, healing and wisdom.

Ardreda—Supreme god of the dwarven pantheon. God of earth, air, fire, war, smithing and knowledge

Dormin—God of war, nobility, valour and strength

Drimna—Goddess of passion, beauty, war and chaos

Dernhild—Goddess of the home, crafts, law and marriage

Brunsige—Goddess of the moon, darkness, prophecy and chaos

Beowyn—Goddess of art, music, poetry and chaos

Heregild—God of mountains, death, disease, and the underworld

Deorgrim—God of sun, fire, healing and wisdom

Baerhic—God of trade, fortune, crafts and travel

Osrim—God of earth, harvests, forests and animals

Freasige—Goddess of rain, magic, fertility and joy

Dunmaer—God of trickery, animals, fortune and revelry

Baymann—God of law, knowledge, prophecy and justice


The Dharranim Dwarves recruit their soldiers from each village, town and city in the dwarven kingdom. The dwarves field forces almost exclusively of heavily armoured infantry, though the dwarves also train lightly-armoured skirmishers, raiders, and scouts.
The dwarves typically field a variety of infantry forces, however, from assault troops, to axemen, spearmen, pikemen, and swordsmen. Dwarven forces are routinely accompanied by clerics and bards, as well as rune casters.

Cultural Weapons and Armour

Dwarf Cultural Armour
Leather Armor (AC 8)
Hide Armor (AC 8)
Studded Leather (AC 7)
Scale Mail (AC 6)
Breastplate (AC 5)
Shield, Steel

Dwarf Cultural Weapons
Dagger, Dart, Club, Sling, Shortsword, Handaxe, Battleaxe, Broadsword, Footman’s Mace, Footman’s Flail, Warhammer, Great Hammer, Great Axe, Javelin, Spear

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