Ancient elven apocrypha name the dwarves as the alfus tertius, and the same texts claim that the dwarves were created by the elves millenia ago when they still possessed the power of magic. Like Man, the dwarves were servitors to the elves before the great calamity that destroyed the elven empire almost 10,000 years ago. With the elves reduced to the nadir of their power, the dwarves quickly managed to scramble at the top of the proverbial food chain, with only man surpassing them in terms of world population and political power.
For thousands of year following the Fall of the Elves, the dwarves were considered a nomadic people, wandering the world in large tribes with no centralized government, never staying in one place for too long. They valued physical strength and power above all else and waged war against Man and the elves especially, attacking their cities and plundering their treasures. In the year 947 AE, a powerful dwarven warlord named Herleifr finally managed to unite all of the nine dwarven warbands and instead of carving a path of global conquest to secure their assured domination of the mainland, he decided to permanently settle the united dwarven people near the frozen reaches of the Ironjern mountain range. Under Herleifr's capable leadership the dwarves began to foster better relations with the neighboring Man kingdoms of Gineas and Saderia, and soon established themselves as an actual, solidified nation, with a focus on mining and martial excellence. Thus the nation of Dvergerjord was formed.
Today, the dwarven nation of Dvergerjord is a divided one, with nine different city-states contesting with each other for the same resources and trade routes with the rest of the world. Though each city (colloquially referred to as a"dome") has its own ruling system, standing army and borders, and can therefore rightly be considered as an individual city-state, eight out of the nine of them are nonetheless loosely affiliated with one another by being part of the Unified Dwarven Federation. Each dome under the UNF banner acts as a satellite to the capital of Dvergerhove, a large, neutral city bordering on the dwarves' southernmost borders, which serves as the seat of dwarven political power, their greatest trading hub, and gateway to Calidor and the rest of the world.
Dwarves are capable of great feats in areas such as mercantilism, architecture and warfare; among the world's greatest merchants, engineers and generals are dwarves. To a dwarf born and bred within the borders of the Dvergerjord, the entirety of the dome where he hails from serves as his extended family and anyone outside of it is not just a stranger, but a potential rival. Those dwarves who have dared to venture beyond the city of Dvergerhove however, often come to the stark realization that the rest of the world isn't that simple.
Dwarves reach adulthood at around 22 years of age. The life expectancy of a male dwarf is around 90 with his maximum lifespan being around 130 years. The life expectancy of a female dwarf is around 100 with her maximum lifespan being around 140 years.
The Dome of Aldrigjen
Aldrigjen is a relatively new dome, founded in the late 1500s when the then ruling council in Dvergerhove decided to outlaw alcohol and gambling within the capital city for a while. Almost immediately a number of lucrative dwarves moved their now-illegal establishments a few miles north and established a small settlement there, which turned into a haven of vices almost overnight. In the early 1600s, Aldrigjen had reached enough of a population and generated enough income that the politicans decreed the town a city. Since then, the dome has remained known for its many brothels, alehouses and drug dens, and it is considered a popular destination for dwarven youngsters of other domes to visit (or sneak off to) when they come of age. In the past few decades however, the economy of Aldrigjen has dwindled considerably as crime has reached an all-time high, giving it the vilifying moniker of "Dome of Thieves". A popular saying about an Aldrigjen dwarf is that the only reason he hasn't robbed you blind is that he hasn't had the chance yet.
The Dome of Bondegard
Bondegard is one of the richest amongst all the domes for the sole reason that its territories hold the only fertile soil in all of Dvergerjord, and as such it is responsible for all of the grain deliveries to the rest of the other dwarven domes (though it excludes Sma Stjern). The dwarves of Bondegards are all farmers or herders, and are known for their good work ethic, hospitality and brewing of ale.
The Dome of Farevolk
At the base of the Ironjern mountain range sits a large, looming fortress that threateningly looms over the surrounding landscape of ice and snow. It is below this massive, stone keep that the dome of Farevolk is built. The majority of the dome of Farevolk is built underground, with large mechanical machines that continually expand their halls in the earth due to an ever increasing growth in population. The women of Farevolk are thought to be the most fertile of all the dwarves, and it is said that Hera herself has blessed the women of Farevolk with great beauty and grace.
The Dome of Fjelltop
The dome of Fjelltop sits at the top of one of the greatest peaks of the Ironjern mountain range. Fjelltop is home to the two greatest mining corporations in the entirety of the Dvergerjord; Dwarven Mining Inc., and Fjell Mining, both of which combined together amount to a little more than 70% of the mainland's mining ventures. Most of their mining equipment is built specifically so that only those of dwarven size can use them, and the accompanying instruction manuals are written in old dwarven so that only those who have studied the language know how the machines work, effectively assuring other nations' dependency on dwarven labor to assist in their mining endeavors. In recent years however, several large gnomish companies have managed to get their hands on old dwarven mining materiel and rumors state that some of their employees have been made to study old dwarven, with the end-goal of trying to break into the mining field and ending the dwarves' monopoly. The dwarves of Fjelltop are (in)famous for their love of dark ale and tendency for vicious bar brawls, as there is little else work available save for work in the surrounding mines, and little else entertainment available save for drinking (and fighting).
The Dome of Hvithavn
Hvithavn is located right by the mouth of the Engelzee, and is known for its great, white-walled harbor, filled with countless of fishing and whaling ships, trading vessels and sea barges. The dwarves of Hvithavn are thought of to be fairly open-minded towards the other races, and they are known to be skilled sailors, made rugged by the cold, harsh winds that govern the Northern Chimney, and made hard by the sea monsters and great whales that traverse the Sea of Fumes.
The Dome of Mangevenn
Mangevenn is the only dwarven dome that is completely above ground, and is less of a city and more of a large, permanent village comprised out of huts and cabins, surrounded by a series of wooden palisades. The dwarves of Mangevenn are skilled hunters, trackers and warriors, as their primary source of food is the hunting for elk, and their primary trading goods consist of the thick, precious pelts of the many dangerous beasts that stalk the northlands. A few miles to the north of Mangevenn lies a large, expansive forest of frozen trees many miles wide and long, called the Dodskog. It is here that a savage, warlike race of bestial Men the dwarves call the Villdyr live. The Villdyr have waged continuous war against the dwarves of Mangevenn for centuries, always seeking to break past their fortifications and move further south into the nation of Dvergerjord proper.
The Dome of Sma Stjern
Sma Stjern is the most remote of the dwarven domes, lying far in the north-western region of Dvergerjord and built on a large, icy cliff that overlooks the frosted-over Northern Veil. It is the only dome not part of the United Dwarven Federation, meaning that while the dwarves of Sma Stjern do not have to pay taxes to the capital of Dvergerhove, they do not gain any benefits such as free education for children, or access to electricity. The dwarves that come from Sma Stjern are considered to be the toughest of all the dwarves due to the everlasting winter and freezing temperatures in the region and the myriad of daily hardships they have to endure to survive for years on end.
The Dome of Styggbyen
Styggbyen is a city that lies in an almost perpetual dark, as it is nestled in the shadow that is cast by the towering mountains of the nearby Ironjern range. The region is home to freezing winds, and it is said that the abyssal howling that can be heard every so often is more than just the wind making itself known, with tales of ice wyrms and wolves the size of horses being told around the hearths late at night. Styggbyen is known for its grand institute of technical learning, the Styggbyen School of Mechanical Engineering and Dwarven Architecture, and the Museum of Dwarven History, where many old dwarven artifacts are housed.
The Dome of Sverdinnse
The dome of Sverdinnse is the largest of the domes, and for good reason, as its territories house almost the entirety of the dwarven nation's industrial capabilities. Most dwarven arms and armor that can be found abroad in the hands of foreigners, including the famous shotgun-axe, were more than likely built in the large dwarven factories of Sverdinnse. The dwarves that hail from here are martially inclined and are often skilled in the assembly of guns, or the craftsmanship of swords or armor.
The Capital of Dvergerhove
The capital city of the dwarven nation, Dvergerhove is a massive fortress-city built into the mountainside. The city is the most intricate of all the dwarven domes, boasting many small passageways, shops and residences built into the rock walls, great hallways filled with bronze statues commemorating old dwarven heroes, and cavernous halls which house many wondrously convoluted machines. Dvergerhove serves as the nation's largest trading hub with the outside world and houses many powerful martial and mercantile guilds. It is here where the Council of Representatives and the Dommerrad (the high judicial court) are housed and it is where rulings, decisions and laws that affect the entirety of the dwarven peoples are made and passed. Dvergerhove is considered neutral ground for all the dwarves and any grudges or disagreements that domes and dwarves may have with one another are put to rest here: the spilling of blood while in the city is considered an affront to the gods, to the laws that govern all of dwarfkind and overall, public decency. It is for this reason that no dwarf can ever take the name of Dvergerhove, as no dwarf can be born without the spilling of blood (and it is coincidentally also why there are so very few women in the city).
The Outcast Svidgard
The Svidgard (literally "those lost" in old dwarven) are those dwarves who are born outside the nation of Dvergerjord, or otherwise banished or exiled from their original domes, and are therefore not given the right to take on the name of a dome. Svidgard are a rare breed, and their tales are often filled with loneliness and tragedy as they are often reviled by most other dwarves, and in some rare cases even lynched. The Svidgard often feel bitterness to their former kin who cast them out and many of them seek comfort and purpose in other lands and cultures, while others do the exact opposite: they fall back to the old dwarven traditions of roving plunder and nomadic way of life, often becoming crowders or highwaymen, and wandering the world, never staying in one place for too long.
Examples of Common Male Names: Alfr, Godtfred, Gunnarr, Hjalmar, Jarl, Tyr
Examples of Common Female Names: Annbjorg, Brynhild, Hedda, Kari, Runa, Svanhild
Examples Common Surnames: Dwarves take the name of the domes (or their territories) they are born in as their surname.