The Dwarves are an ancient race. It is unknown how long they were here in Athera, because for eons, they made their living within the mountains. They lived deep within, making their homes underground and building their cities up from within. Dwarves are a stalwart bunch, with thick skin and an even thicker beard--for the men, at least. While they lived their days out in isolation and without contact to the other races and civilizations, the Dwarves both prospered and suffered.

Closing off their underground cities from the rest of the world brought with it a fair share of diseases. The Dwarves suffered great tolls from this, losing numbers of their people. However, in this time they also prospered with their inventions and creations, forging great and powerful weapons and inventing gunpowder which would later be used with cannons and guns. Dwarves are also known for breeding both gryphons and mountain rams which are used as their mounts while traversing the dangerous, mountain passes.

It wasn't until the disease and famine, the result of closing their cities off, began to overwhelm the Dwarves that they finally decided to reach out for help. It was the Orcs and the Nordic humans who aided them, bringing the Dwarves medicine, food, anything they needed to help their swiftly dwindling numbers. Because of this, each race shares the North in harmony, their trade routes helping each-other prosper and flourish.

Rarity: Common in Athera, especially in the north.
Reputation: Known for being stalwart and tough, for their thick accents, Dwarven ale, and large beards, the mounts they breed and trade, stubborn, hotheaded
Best Classes: Ranger, Warrior, Rogue, Barbarian, Cleric, Paladin
Distinguishing Features: Stocky build, large beards on the men, red hair, large noses, short bodies, thick accent (it resembles a Scottish accent!)
Languages: Dwarven, Nordic, Common, sometimes Orcish

After the Dwarves finally decided to reopen to the world, they changed the way their people were ruled. When before the Dwarves were ruled by a tyrant king, a king who was responsible for shutting them off from the world, they decided to usurp him and form the Council of the Four Hammers. The former tyrant king, Aglan Hardmaul, was usurped and beheaded before a crowd of cheering Dwarves by Aramneas Warbeard. It was Aramneas Warbeard who then formed the council, made up of the closest families tied to the Warbeard Clan. After several decades of peaceful rule over the Dwarves, finally Aramneas Warbeard succumbed to illness and finally, death, but this wasn't without passing on an heir of his own to the Warbeard name. Today, the Council of the Four Hammers is still together, and stronger than ever.

WARBEARD: The Warbeard clan are the family of Dwarves who founded the council. The Warbeard family live deep within Khazad'ghul, and watch over the Dwarven people who dwell within the city's walls.
GOLDCLOAK: The Goldcloak family are close relatives to the Warbeard family. They live within Khaz Moran, breeding gryphons and growing vegetables which are then traded to the Nords and the Orcs.
IRONHAMMER: The Ironhammer Dwarves, another distant cousin to the Warbeards, live within the northern highlands. They protect the land from outsiders and threats, with scouts who patrol the skies on the backs of large gryphons and wield hammers made with strong iron.
AXEFLAYER: The Axeflayer Dwarves, cousins to the Warbeards, Goldcloaks and Ironhammers, watch over and live within the mountain passes between the realms of Men and the north. They control toll sections where travelers and traders going through the mountain pass will have to pay a decent priced toll in order to pass through.

While many other races choose to worship a pantheon of gods, the Dwarves instead worship only one: Moradin. It is believed by the Dwarves that she is the one who created the Dwarves, making them in her image: tough and robust, though stocky but with a sharp wit and an even sharper axe. To the Dwarves, Moradin represents everything which Dwarven people value the most: forge, invention, good nature, and intelligence. They often make praise to her while in battle, in the form of a hearty battle cry. (Or sometimes during a drunken tavern brawl.)

The Dwarven military trains even in the harsh, bitter cold of the northern winters. They can be found at Khazad'ghul, where the biggest section of their cities dedicated to military can be found. They have an arsenal of both able-bodied fighters, as well as artillery such as canons and gunships. Many of the gryphons which are raised by Dwarves, are used in combat as well, the archers taking to the sky to shoot down their enemies from above. Discipline plays a large role in the way their military trains, as they are often drilled, and trained to fight in formations.

Some of the positions within the Dwarven military are as follows:
GRYPHON RIDERS: Gryphon riders are specially trained Dwarven marksmen and rangers who are not only proficient in handling animals, such as a large dangerous beast like gryphons, but are also have a keen eye and can handle a bow with ease while in flight. While a lot of the riders, during times of peace, are merely sky sentinels--riders who watch over the mountain passes and report any suspicious activity which might be seen from their vantage point, the riders are still a formidable foe on the battlefield.
LEGIONNAIRE: Heavily armed and skilled Dwarven warriors who are armed with large, sturdy hammers, and sometimes swords and shields. They fight in the front lines, where they do lethal damage to their enemies.
BATTLE CLERICS: Battle Clerics are the healers of the battlefield; they use their knowledge and ability in casting divine spells to heal those who get injured in battle so that their numbers won't dwindle.
NAVAL: In recent years, the Dwarven military has taken to securing their section of the sea. They patrol the waters on large ships, armed dangerously with canons.