Undeath to Life
There are several varieties of dwarf scattered across northeast Ethelesar. Though they all decend from the same original species created by their Avatar, recent events have created several offshoots.
Mountain Dwarves comprise the vast majority of the dwarven nation, and are largely what most of the world thinks of when they speak of dwarves. They range in height between 4 and 5 feet tall, with dense bones and muscles. Their skin ranges from fair to light brown, though exact shades tend to vary from tribe to tribe, with hair typically dark colored, though not always so.
Gully dwarves are the degraded offspring of gnomes and dwarves. Unfortunately, dwarf/gnome children seem to only inherit the worst qualities of both races. They are smaller than other dwarves, typically under 4 feet. Physically, they share a similar shape, but are often covered with scars, boils, sores, and/or filth due to their squalid living condition. Skin tone typically ranges from olive brown to a dirty gray, and mottled or splotched skin is not uncommon. Their hair is usually wispy when they are not outright balding, and ranges in color from dirty blond to rust, gray, or dull black. They tend to be less stocky than typical dwarves, and potbellies due to malnutrition are common.
The following sums up the personality of most Gully Dwarves as a race: Keen survival instinct, a strong (if baffling) pride in themselves, unflagging endurance, a pitiable aspect, a desperate will to survive, low cunning and even lower intelligence. The cornerstone of Gully Dwarf existence is simple survival – they do whatever it takes to survive, and as such they tend to live in places nobody else would want to. When danger threatens, their first thought is to run if possible, and grovel and cry piteously if not. If cornered, they will resort to any tactics to survive: biting, gnawing, scratching, and pummeling, and using any object they can get their hands on as a weapon.
Gully Dwarf stupidity is legendary. Their numbering system includes the numbers ‘one’, meaning a single thing, and ‘two’, meaning anything more than one. Their names are given to them by parents, friends, and anyone else, and they will often change their names whenever they find another one they like. A human once said to a gully dwarf, “Get out of my way, maggot!”, and gave a gully dwarf a name that was handed down with pride for generations.
In the wake of The Great Screaming, a large number of dwarves were trapped in the caverns beneath Quail along with the demons. Many of those dwarves became corrupted by dark magics, and many have been driven mad. Thus they’ve been dubbed ‘Madness Dwarves’ by the people of Quail. While not strictly evil as a race, due to the corrupting influence of whatever forces were unleashed beneath Quail, many of the Madness Dwarves have fallen into the practice of dark magics (and forbidden brewing techniques, in the eyes of the Mountain Dwarves).
A relatively rare species of dwarf can occasionally be found in the frozen tundras of the north, often among the more western gnome regions. Little is known about this folk, as they rarely leave their homes to indulge in contact with the outside world.