The Dwarves of Karal are an ancient people whose mountain kingdoms seem small to human eyes. But beneath the surface, their vast cities thrive, delving ever deeper for minerals and metals with which they create all manner of wonders.
Dwarves are shorter than most other folk, but much stockier, on average weighing around the same as a human. Dwarves of any gender can grow facial hair, and most do, often braiding it into elaborate patterns. Their skin, hair and eyes come in a large variety of colours, but mostly in tones that match various kinds of earth. Dwarves live much longer than humans, often as long as 400 years. They consider themselves adults after a couple of decades of life, but are considered young by their peers up until the age of fifty.
Used to living underground, dwarves can see in the dark, and while they are not as fast as taller folk their powerful frames deal well with heavy loads. Their resilience is legendary; they can drink twice as much as any human, and resist all but the direst poisons.
Language and culture
Dwarves speak their own language, called Dwarvish in the Common language, written using a runic alphabet. Despite the stereotype of the dour and precise engineer, dwarves have as much metaphor and poetry in their language as any other folk. Several peculiarities of their own tongue give dwarves a distinct accent when they speak other languages, particularly Common, and they often bring some of their colourful expressions into other languages they learn.
Tradecraft is a major part of dwarven culture, and all dwarves are raised with a respect for stonework and taught at least the basics of smithing, masonry or brewing. Dwarven weapons,
armour and devices are sought after for their quality and efficiency. Their traditional weapons, axes and hammers, rely more on strength than finesse, but are no less deadly.
There are technically two distinct populations of dwarves, but they are more like related families than truly distinct cultures. While those who live in the mountains are noticeably more powerful, and those in hilly areas hardier, to a dwarf one’s clan is far more important than such matters.