“For the Clan, for the Blood”
Facts and Traits:
Also Known As: The Dwarves
Associated Colours: Bright red and steel grey
Worship: Arkath, the Dragon of Fire. They and fire are old friends, and their worship is an intensely personal ritual that most outsiders have never seen
Core Philosophy: “Never yield and never lose face”. Be proud of who you are. Defend your kinsmen, your homeland and your honor. Always protect the hearth
Country/Kingdom: Grimheim, the Kingdom Under the Mountain
Capital City: Tor Myrdal, the Fire-rumbling Fortress
Key Symbols: N/A
Description: (From the Official Site)
Fierce warriors, industrious blacksmiths, skilled sailors and masters of Rune (War) Magic (tattooed bodies, runic weapons & armors…).
Suspicious of outsiders. Wardens of the Demons (for they live closest to the Demons’ “lava core” prison), rivals of the Dark Elves (they compete for underground territory).
Internal / Social Organization:
Each dwarven city has its own king, with a council of advisors from the wealthiest and most industrious families. The King Under the Mountains is the king of kings among the dwarves, and it is he who sets policy and summons them to war. Kingship is not hereditary, though it is a lifetime post. After each king’s death, the council convenes and elects his successor. At such times, the tunnels are filled with both celebration and intrigue, as various candidates court voters and attempt to discredit – or eliminate – rivals.
Dwarven culture is very much male-driven – though women are neither bearded nor as rare as one might think.
Social structure is based around three relationships: family, fostering and fighting. There is a complicated web of apprenticeships that serves to train up young dwarves and cement relations between clans. These ties are precious – a single unworthy apprentice can poison an alliance that has existed for centuries.
While there are numerous ties that bind the kingdom together – race, family, city – the most important by far is the clan. The six dwarven clans are:
- Deepflame – Rune Priests, the religious leaders of the Dwarves
- Grimsteel – a fierce clan noted for its famous warriors
- Stonefist – the clan responsible for mining and building the great underground cities
- Stronghammer – artisans and blacksmiths, creators of the Dwarves’ famed handicrafts and weapons
- Hearthguard – a clan of magistrates and administrators, slow and serious
- Winterwind – the beastmasters, accustomed to the outdoors and friendly with other races.
Clans and families are not the same thing. Families are different lineages within a single clan, with each clan having its own name, battle history, customs and so forth. Ultimately, dwarves always fall back on their clans. While a single city may house families from a half-dozen different clans, at important times, such as the election of a new king, dwarves fall out along clan lines before anything else.
The dwarven warbands are one of the most feared fighting forces in the world. Featuring unparalleled ferocity and iron discipline, they can be mustered on a moment’s notice. In combat, warbands from various cities try to outdo each other in terms of enemies killed, banners taken and the like – war is a game, and this is a way of keeping score. On the other hand, dwarves never, ever surrender. They fight to the death, even when the odds are hopelessly against them. The best death a dwarf can hope for is one in battle, against impossible odds, with a witness who will someday make a song of their deeds.
While they prefer fighting underground, dwarves do occasionally muster on the surface. In the tunnels, where large bands are less useful, they build complicated defensive fortifications and traps. Dwarves who explore unknown tunnels are called Delvers, and they are often the first line of defense against an incursion by dark elves, necromancers and the like.
Dwarves have never featured too prominently in a Heroes game, but now, with the addition of the Fortress (which has no correlation with its Heroes III counterpart), that fact has changed. 12 Dwarves are now featured in Heroes V, Hammers of Fate, along with 2 more dragons.
The Dwarves are a unique race who live "under the mountains", and are also partial to snowy terrain. Undoubtedly, though, their most characteristic feature is their mastery of Runes. Substituting for their spell system, Dwarves pay resources to imbue runes on units in combat.
The Fortress town as a whole is opposed to the Dark Elves, with which they share the underground, but also wary of the Demons. Like the Haven and Sylvan, the Dwarves seem to be a 'good' faction, and are indeed similar to the humans. Whether they are a substitute for the Barbarians is yet to be seen.
Thanks to ThE_HyDrA for creating and looking after the Heroes 5 section of Age of Heroes!