Dwarves in the Floating Realms


dwarf02aThe Dwarves of the Floating Realms are the economic keyholders to the riches of the world. They follow some of the standard fantasy tropes with dwarves, but differ in a few areas, the most important being that they are a technological superpower not interested in war with other nations, but rather commerce. The next difference is that their clan fighting is elevated to an extreme that is difficult for people to realize. They segregate each clan into their own cities with only a few common areas.

In the Unchained Heroes universe, the Dwarves are one of the Terrestrial Species, heavily made up of the Earth Element, which is the element of consistency, solidity, and material creations. Their affinity to the Earth element shines through with their traits of stubbornness, steady resolve, and their love of architecture. They also show affinity to their second most prevalent element, the Element of Fire. The Fire side of them makes them passionate and jolly; they love to have fun, but have well defined traditions of what that means. It also makes them quick to find fault with others, while slow to forgive.

Their Appearance

The Dwarven Race was formed from Terrestrial Earth, and as such, they are strong and solidly built. A naturally stout people, their height ranges from 3 ½ to 5 feet tall. Their hair ranges from deep reds to dark brown or black. Both sexes pride themselves on their appearances; especially great care is taken with their hair. The males proudly sport beards; many with intricate braids that are lovingly cared for. The females wear their hair long; braiding their hair into elaborate hairstyles. Hairstyles can depict clan membership and follow fashions within a clan.

Their faces have prominent lips, bushy eyebrows, deep gem colored eyes (no reds), and bulbous noses. Their frames vary from rotund to the chiseled. Most Dwarves live underground or in the mountains. Mountain Dwarves Skin tone is almost universally starkly white and pale. There are a few clans that live in the open air and are known as Surface Dwarves. Surface Dwarves are swarthy, with deeply tanned or brown skins and they are taller. On average a Surface Dwarf is approximately 5 feet tall.

Their Home

The home realm of the Dwarves is the Floating Realm of Voltana, the former domain of the great Magi Voltan. The Dwarves are not isolated to Voltan, but the majority live there, so this article is focused on them. There are a few Mountain Dwarf Kingdoms that reside in Peloria and in other realms, but they are completely separate structures from the Voltanan Dwarves and can be easily identified. Dwarves outside of Voltan follow many of the fantasy tropes we know so well; those that lived under Voltan are a different sort, both more united and more fractured than any other kingdom.

The Voltanan Dwarves always act as a unified front outside of Voltana, even cooperating together in ways unheard of within Voltana. To the outside world, they always wear the Voltana Dwarf Dressings in colors of Black, Yellow, Orange, and White, making them easily recognizable. Within Voltana, their Clan fighting cripples their great nation. Voltan encouraged this structure when he was “ruling” over them. He promoted the “us” against “them“ mentality and so deeply ingrained it within them that it they don’t even realize they are doing it.

Voltan was viewed as a plague by the Dwarves as his “children”–the Goblins–were encouraged to be in a constant state of war with them. Voltan was interested in creating machines of war and experimenting in a highly controlled environment, so the mountains of Voltana, with their incredibly vast caverns, allowed him to do this. Entire caverns were environmentally controlled to fit his precise experimental conditions so he could see how the Goblins and Dwarves would react to the situation. He did not care what happened to either side, as long as he could create new methods of destruction. The dwarves in turn had to try to counter the machines of Voltan and his goblins to survive. In the end, the Goblin Wars were a mixed blessing to the Dwarves as they simultaneously gave them something to fight and advanced their technology in leaps and bounds. Unfortunately, the leaps and bounds were mostly for destruction, so when Voltan was destroyed and the Goblins in disarray, the dwarves started to use this technology against each other.

Currently, Voltana is guarded by massive cannon batteries in a spherical layout around the entire realm, from top to bottom, known as The Iron Sphere. These batteries do not allow any ships past them, with no exception to this policy, making the Voltana Realm the most secure continent from external forces. All trade goods are delivered through one of the many Air Stations within the Iron Sphere, further reducing the chance for any unauthorized outsiders to get through. Any Non-dwarf that actually resides within Voltana is strictly vetted and held to the highest standards of secrecy. When it comes to ambassadors and other political officials, the Voltanan Dwarves give them one of the many Palaces on the mountains as residence with a direct tunnel to the King’s Palace, but rarely get to do a lot of moving around Voltana without supervision.

Their Common Goal

The Dwarves have found a new goal to keep their in-fighting and self-destructive tendencies in check: to be the Economic powerhouse of the Floating Realms. Their love of wealth and their desire to protect it, outstrips their constant rivalries, at least to the outside world. In the past 600 years, the dwarves have built the most impenetrable of the Floating Realms to safeguard their wealth and the wealth of those that put their faith in their system. They have maintained a standard currency system for the Floating Realms through Stock Markets, Exchanges, and Banks everywhere. Their monetary standard is the measuring stick by which all transactions are made and their presence as bankers, lenders, wholesale merchants, and commodity sellers has brought stability to the Economy that has never been seen before. They pride themselves as the Stewards of wealth in the known Realms, and the rest of the world is quite pleased with their stewardship.

Their Secret

The Dwarves are holding a great secret from the rest of the world: they are under siege like they have not seen since the days of Voltan. The Goblins have launched a massive offensive against the Dwarves that is forcing the Dwarves to unite against this common enemy. The Goblins are smart, lethal, and out for revenge. They did not sit idly and have built a thriving society completely out of site from the Dwarves. The Dwarves are keeping this quiet because they don’t want anyone to lose confidence in their economy or pull out the money from their vaults. At this time, no information about this war has been leaked, but it is only a matter of time.

This siege is stretching their resources and causing heavy casualties. The focus on building a worldwide economy has weakened their internal defense mechanisms. Currently, some of the Dwarven Thanes are advocating the public use of necromancy and the summoning of demonic armies to bolster their numbers and the King is seriously considering it. The truth is, it’s already being done, but only in the deepest caverns. The general populace knows of this war and are keeping tight lipped about it to anyone outside the realm of Voltan.


Their Society

The Dwarven Society has been covered in sufficient detail in the Core Rulebook, but I want to put special emphasis on the clan fighting here. To say it is brutal, is an understatement. The things the Dwarven Clans of Voltana will do to each other in the name of old rivalries is cruel. The roots of their conflicts run deep as the mountains and the single most important thing to the ongoing survival of the Dwarves of Voltana is to stop this conflict. This goes above and beyond the current conflict with the Goblins, because if it is not stopped, the Voltanan Dwarves will wipe themselves out on their own.

Officially, the clan fighting is against the law, but unofficially, it never stops. As a Dwarf, you are taught not to trust anyone outside of your Clan and that sort of mistrust is poison to a society. Clan badges and markings are common, with some clans commonly sporting facial tattoos or scars to be able to recognize each other on site. Other Clans use special color schemes, capes, particular armor, or similar things.

There are two things that keep the Dwarves strong however, their Common Goal of promoting the worldwide economy and the fight against the Goblins. As mentioned before, in the outside world, the Dwarves all seem to be a united front, but that doesn’t keep them from each other’s throats within Voltana. In Voltana, the Goblins have united them the most, but it hasn’t stopped some Clans using the Goblins as a convenient excuse for eliminating a rival. Some of the more progressive clans are working on trying to mend these divides but it is hard to change centuries of thought in a short time.

Their Interactions

The Dwarves promote a trade relationship with everyone they can. This increases their available goods and pushes their currency standards. They are fair in dealing with other realms, but quite insular. They do not get involved with wars, unless they are a threat to trade and never deploy forces outside their realm. They can be found almost everywhere and have Exchange Houses, Stock Markets, and Ambassadorial Palaces in every realm and in multiple countries. They are the most neutral of parties and rarely get persuaded to choose a side based on emotional pleas. If they do choose a side, it is because it is in the best interest of the Voltanan Dwarves and no one else.

Dwarves around the world generally distrust Dwarves of other clans more than they distrust anyone else, making them seem gregarious and jovial to an Elf, Human, or Halfling. For some reason, internal strife is commonplace among them.

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