Now I've always hated Dwarves. They are my least favorite fantasy race, I'm not sure why. Even reading the hobbit I didn't like the Dwarves much. I like them less now with the strange hybrid of Warhammer Fantasy, LOTR movie and Warcraft that makes them utterly uninteresting gruff stumpy goons one dimensionally interested in Brew (though rarely actual drunkenness or beer), fighting, mining, axes, prickly senses of honor and beards. The Scotts' accents only make them worse because they are always played for laughs.
Yet many adore dwarves, stereotype and all. I don't want to speculate why. The point is I am reexamining the little creeps and doing my best not to change them into horrible mole people, or robots, earth elementals or living statutes. Below is my conception of Dwarves for Anomalous Subsurface Environment, attempting to follow the majority of Dwarf tropes in standard fantasy: avarice, booze obsession, beards and clannishness
It is perhaps worth noting that Elves are also horrible - likely more horrible...
Dwarves of the Home Warrens
|One of Callot's Dwarves 1592–1635|
North of the plains, beginning in the low hills and winding high into the bitter brown stone peaks beyond are the home warrens of the the Dwarves. It is commonly known that Dwarves are a clannish lot, obsessed with wealth and fixated on the production of alcohol and high quality metal work. They are often cruel to outsiders, or at least entirely lacking in charity and obsessed with honor, family and revenge. The situation only get more confusing as one interacts with the dwarven emigrant communities of human lands. Below are excerpts from the lectures of Azimuth Red 721 Alpha, Scientist and leader of a recently returned expedition to the regions of the Dwarven Home Warrens.
What are the Home Warrens?
Dwarven society is one of stasis, hopelessness and endless tiny humiliations. The homeland of these strange subhumans reflect the grim facts of dwarven life. Like Elves and Halflings, dwarves are a manufactured race, likely a hybrid between humans and something else. Whatever alien masters created dwarves, they created them for a particular type of obedience, and most likely a particular type of warfare. The Home Warrens reflect this origin - a seemingly endless labyrinth of utilitarian passages made from whatever is at hand with whatever technology the dwarves can master: ceramicrete, vitirified stone, reinforced concrete, carved rock or brick and mortar. Unlike underground elven fortresses, dwarven warrens are almost without decoration, and are designed so that the majority of dwarves will not and cannot never leave them. The warrens are constantly being built, downwards, and outwards, with many sections long abandoned based on the whims and internal conflicts of the dwarven creditor nobility.
To visitors dwarven warrens are confusing and monotonous, gallery after identical gallery, connected by cramped passages. When in use some distinction between distillery, workshop, storage rooms and living quarters can be observed, but once abandoned all that remains is cold stone without signage or evidence of original purpose. The only differences from monotonous plan are found in the homes of the creditor class of dwarven nobles, who live in luxury surrounded by wealth and decoration (much of it imported from above ground) and the fortress areas of the warrens, where traps and ingenious defenses break up the sameness of the warrens with pits, bulwarks, mazes and redoubts.