Resources: Armor-making, Engineering, Diplomacy
Summary: The former Kingdom of Azarak is a tale of sorrow and loss. Once a great kingdom of Dwarves, they built massive cities deep beneath the planet. Halls of beautifully crafted stone, massive forges of flowing lava and tempered metal were contrasted with simple temples made to their deity Mur-Azarak.
A society oriented around family, justice, order and work, the Dwarves unfortunately dug too deep and unleashed a multitude of foul beasts which turned Dwarven brother against Brother. A massive war to keep their homes ensued, in which the Dwarves slowly lost their ground. At a desperate hour, they chose to flood the halls and kingdom with massive amounts of lava, and fled the Kingdom.
The refugees that fled the surface found that the sunlight nearly blinded them, and they had to come up with quick solutions to protect from the sunlight. In addition, they had to rely on the charity of Oathbreaker dwarves, dwarves who were exiled from the Mountains, to live in a new city in which they dubbed New Azarak.
A pact was made, the Grudgebound Pact, in which any Oathbreaker dwarf that aided in the retaking in the mountain would be forgiven of any crimes and given a home, and that the Dwarves who swore the grudge would one day retake Azarak. They branded a Dwarven rune of “A: on their face or hand, in remembrance of home.
They are a religious, justice and family oriented society who are not quick to share their emotions unless they deeply trust someone. Yet they are charitable and friendly, an Oath from a dwarf should be taken very seriously, as is their word.
(Note: Oathbreaker Dwarves can be from anywhere, Grudgebound dwarves are played as refugees from the Mountain)
Cultural dress: Very simple earth tones, all males have length beards decorated with trinkets having a variety of meanings. Grudgebound dwarves have sunlight sensitivity and have to wear some sort of eye protection (goggles, eye black, foods, etc). Females put their hairs into buns and braids.Click here to Read More
Their economic status is dire, they are currently under the benefit/auspices of Oathbreakers and other races in a new city named New Azarak.
Barely any, there is a decent supply of lumber near New Azarak.
Monotheistic, believes that Mur-Azarak is a god among all gods, and has saved the Dwarven race a multitude of times.
New Azarak currently sits in a forest, in a decently sized settlement that they named New Azarak.
Races that live in the kingdom
As long as the other races follow the laws of the land, and are respectful to Dwarven culture, there seems to be no issues. There is governmental issues between the Grudgebound and the Oathbreakers but with the Grudge Pact promising to allow the Oathbreakers to return home no matter the crime, it seems to be resolved.
Oathbreaker dwarves who accepted the Grudge Pact
King Durgrik Ironbreaker II
The Kurgrim, Muraz Steelhearth
Menira Bloodhammer, Leader of the Sons and Daughters of Azarak
Vili, Stonespeaker and Leader of the Stoneshapers
The Dwarves believe that they were shaped from the most rugged and durable minerals and rocks deep below the earth by Mur-Azarak. And with it, he gave them laws and an innate sense of right and wrong.
Months before the Wonderfoot Expedition discovered the New World, the Dwarves of Azarak were a society that did not leave the safety of their vast mountain-nation. A system of pulley elevators and excellent crafts allowed them to dig a city deep into the earth. The pressure of being deep beneath the earth allowed the Dwarves great strength and resilience. However, one day a miner found a beautiful vein of what looked to be a new metal. Striking it hard with his pickaxe, what flowed from it was not what it was intended, a massive stream of black sludge.
The first few Dwarves hit with the sludge began to scream in absolute terror as they were transformed into something that did not resemble Dwarves at all, and this spread throughout these caverns. Eventually the sludge broke through multiple holes in the ground to near flood the cavern in which they were working on.
Before long, these Dwarves spread the infection and that was not the only threat that the civilization face. Strange beasts ripped through the sludge and earth to begin attacking settlements. The Dwarves fought for as long and hard as they could before they eventually had to realize their kingdom could be lost. They enacted a plan where a few would stay behind and fight what they called the Durhan (the Dark Ones), and the rest would evacuate above ground. The plan was enacted and the forges were overturned to flood the entire kingdom with lava, while the last few fought on to allow the rest to escape.
On the surface, the Dwarves realized that their years in the dark caverns had caused their eyes to be hypersensitive to the light on the surface, and they had to quickly fashion eye protection. Desperate, they wandered around for days before coming upon a small settlement of Oathbreakers. King Ironbreaker met with their leader, Alrin Stoneson, and discussed what had happened. A meeting of seven days and seven nights occurred, where they agreed upon the Grudge Pact. Any Oathbreaker that wished to aid in reclaiming Azarak would be forgiven of anything, and given a land stake in the Kingdom, and furthermore, all other Oathbreakers would be given amnesty.
With this agreement, the Grudgebound refugees mixed in the settlement and they named it New Azarak. The remaining Azarak refugees burned a runic symbol on their hand or face, to remind them that one day they would return home and reclaim their holy land.
Culture and Customs
Dwarven culture and customs are very orderly in nature. Their entire life revolves around the family, faith and labor. The concept of “family” is essentially broken into three different sections, with the household being the first, going on into the clan, and finally the entire society of Dwarves is considered a “family”. The household consists of a husband and a wife, and at most two children. Emotion is only shown when not working, as the Dwarves believe it requires strict concentration to do one’s work, and emotions can slow one’s judgement down. Only at home in the household or during the sabbath/celebrations do Dwarves usually show their wide variety of emotions. People who meet Dwarves outside of this setting usually consider them cold, calculating and uncaring.
The faith is very important, and prayer is a common occurrence in the household. Church is usually conducted on the day of the sabbath, which is the last day in the week, as Mur-Azarak says that one day of rest must be taken per week in order to clear one’s head and become inspired for the next week of production. Any form of work such as blacksmithing, engineering and other crafts is considered the highest honor to Mur-Azarak. Each family tends to have an heirloom of some sort that is handed down to the firstborn child of each family, it is usually a symbol of their family’s craft and a trademark.
Marriage is a sacred act within Dwarven culture, and courting a bride in Dwarven society requires the prospective groom to prove to the future wife’s family that they are a fit by usually providing them with a masterwork craft of their own or equivalent. Traditional marriage customs are the forging of the wedding rings together, and the celebration with a large party.
Women in Dwarven society are held highly, as they are the only ones who can bare children and the sheer strength required to bare Dwarven children is beyond admirable. Women can hold public office including governance and military leadership, as well be recognized as master crafters themselves.
Nepotism is an unknown and foreign concept to Dwarves, as it is common occurrence to get family into positions using influence. Some clans have had more influence over time and accrued more wealth due to their master craftsmanship.
Being able to make something in Dwarven culture is highly valued, and children who grow up and do not pass any sort of apprenticeship test are shoehorned somehow into positions of either law enforcement or military.
Lastly death and burial in Azarak are not considered a somber occasion, they are usually buried with some of their crafts and their life is celebrated, as they now join Mur-Azarak in his realm beyond.
Sons and Daughters of Azarak
The Sons and Daughters of Azarak are Dwarven men and women who give their lives willingly to the militaristic arm of the clergy of Mur-Azarak. When joining, they are trained day in and day out from the moment they join to become warrior-priests. Intended to be the front line when reclaiming Azarak from the Durhan. Throughout their training they are given a variety of runic tattoos which empower them in different ways. When they complete their training, they are given a imbued shield and weapon which they form a special bond with, in which they can never put down their weapon or shield or forsake the special imbuing that goes within them. Lastly, they are given one last runic tattoo, that is saved for when the fight for Azarak takes place, with it they give themselves a great burst of power, but at the cost of greatly reducing their lifespan.
These are a group of Dwarves who are outcasts in society, however a bit different from Oathbreakers, they believe that Mur-Azarak created them from the earth and stone to show them what perfection looks like, and that they as a people must become like stone again to return to perfection as a test from Mur-Azarak. They are known to have rituals in which they bath themselves in mud, volcanic ash and even eat stones. They do not bathe often and are noticeable by the caked on mud, ash and dirt which resembles stone like skin. Recent rumors are that one of them did indeed achieve this state of stonelike being.
Meaning High Court in Dwarven, an organize of twenty three high priests who act as the court system and the religious authority within the Kingdom of Azarak, lead by the High Judge, The Kurgrim, they are bound to obey the laws and commands that they decree. Any religious event such as burials, births, and more must be overseen by either a member of the Grint-Duraz or an appointed priest of the Grint-Duraz. They meet every day except for the religious sabbath and festivals/holidays. A few Dwarves have begun to question the leadership of not only the King but the Grint-Duraz, as clearly Mur-Azarak did not save them from this latest calamity, a disaster which claimed most of their people and their entire nation.
Meaning “Dark Ones” in Dwarven, these are the mutated spawn that were one of the causes of the exile of the Dwarves from Azarak. They are infected from the sludge that leaked out from the mineral vein. The mutation in it’s late stage turns their skin to an ashen grey, eyes become filled with blood and grow unnatural claws in addition to previous mutations. Their mind is lost and they screech nothing but gibberish. A scratch, bite or transmission of body fluids can infect another Dwarf. As it stands, it is believed that most of the Durhan were exterminated when Azarak was flooded with lava in their last ditch effort. Before the exile was decided, there were whispers of a leader of Durhan.