Racial Martial Arts
The Druim'dwer are a race of diminutive people who dwell primarily below the earth's surface, delving deep into its bones for the rocks, stones, and rare metals they use in fashioning the goods they are so famous for. In this process they have formed a nearly symbiotic relationship with the rock itself, giving them formidable control and knowledge of the very essence of the earth. Through this bond the Druim'dwer construct intricate underground cities, forge weapons of unsurpassed puissance, and bring to light many things which have long been buried within the bowels of the planet.
Called "short and stout" by taller races, Druim'dwer are extremely hardy creatures, capable of surviving falls, cave-ins, and rockslides that would kill lesser beings. While Haefdin and Gnomes for the most part retain a skeletal structure proportional to that of the Daun race, the Druim'dwer possess bones which are substantially thicker, in fact they are almost precisely as thick as if they had belonged to a Daun whose height relative to his own race, was similar to the Druim'dwer's height as compared to the rest of the Druim'dwer. In other words, a 4'0" Druim'dwer's bones are of about the same thickness as a 6'0" Daun's though substantially shorter. Needless to say that the incidents of broken bones among Druim'dwer are relatively small.
Through thousands of generations of breathing the often polluted and deadly gasses that exist in pockets beneath the earth, the Druim'dwer have developed highly efficient and poison resistant lungs. As such they are extremely resistant to toxic gases of all kinds. To a lesser degree, the Druim'dwer have developed a tolerance to common poisons, particularly heavy metals and oxygen bonding poisons such as cyanide. Ingestion of these substances in small quantities will generally only make a Druim'dwer ill, where a Daun or Sylvan might die.
Each Druim'dwer is born with a small crystal within their bodies, about the size of a small pebble, which slowly grows as they age, eventually achieving the size of an adult Druim'dwer's fist. The crystal is yellow and reported to possess properties similar to amber, save for an increase in opacity. Much speculation and folklore surround the stones, most of it focused on them as receptacles of the Druim'dwer spirit. Since no Druim'dwer has ever survived the removal of their puo'feyut-ruchi, such explanations for the stone's existence cannot truly be discounted. Most theurgists and learned individuals however, perceive the stone to be a focus of magical energy, probably Vedic in nature. One theory holds that some law of contagion exists between the stones and the substance of the earth.
Male Druim'dwer range from 3'4" to 4'6" in height with weights ranging from 35 stone to nearly 60. The average male is approximately 4'0" tall and weighs 40 stones. Female Druim'dwer range from 2'8" to 4'0" in height with weights ranging from 20 stone to slightly over 40. The average female is approximately 3'4" tall and weighs 30 stones.
The Druim'dwer possess no true leader, each Clan being a law unto itself. They individually administer their own laws, taxes, and institutions. Despite a lack of uniformity of laws, the Druim'dwer political system is surprisingly similar in each Clan. An upper and lower council exists, each council comprised of representatives from the various Tre'cortas (work families) and a few from the leading families including the First Family of the Clan whose representative acts as Clanlord and chairs the upper council. Depending on the size of the Clan, upwards of half a dozen families may be represented directly in the upper council, the determination of which families can hold council seats varies from clan to clan.
Families are patriarchal in nature with brides becoming part of the family of the groom. The adoption ceremony, or kin-cort, is often as important as the wedding itself and must take place within a week after the ceremony. It is considered bad taste to combine the two, though some of the less prosperous families have in the past. It is during this ceremony that the bride's father surrenders his daughter to her new lawful father and takes from the daughter a lock of hair or other suitable item and gives her the dowry gift and scroll. This exchange symbolizes the father's continual devotion to his birth daughter's welfare and the daughter's eternal devotion to her birth father. In reciprocation, the lawful father gives both his new daughter and her birth father gifts to ease the pain of leave-taking. The dowry gift belongs solely to the daughter and can be virtually anything, from an iron pot to a chest of gold. A copy of the dowry scroll is kept in the Clan records, the original acting as the official document of the daughter's adoption and wedding. The average age of marital consent is 40.
At the age of 30, all Druim'dwer (male and female alike) are expected to undergo the fel'rilis or "wander heart" ritual. The ritual involves fasting and meditation for three weeks at the end of which the Druim'dwer becomes a petitioner. Given arms and armor, they are cast forth from their clan to roam where they please for the next three years of their lives with the only restriction being that they may not seek aid from any Druim'dwer other than their fellow petitioners. Petitioners that return before the end of the first year are interviewed by a panel selected from the lower council and either sent back out for the remaining duration of their fel'rilis, cast out of the Clan after being branded a terista or "pariah", or accepted (extraordinary) into an apprenticeship. To be accepted as an apprentice usually requires the acceptance of three Masters from the chosen Tre'cortas. Most petitioners tend to drift to the smithing or mercenary trades while others of a more solitary mindset become veritable hermits. Nearly three-quarters of all petitioners return to their clans, to be accepted back into Druim'dwer society and apprenticed to a trade of their choosing. Of those that do not return, half join in the communities of other races, living amongst the yang'sint ("burnt ones" or optionally "fiery others"), while the rest are divided amongst the dead, the hermits, and several orders of mysticism founded by previous fel'dwer ("lost people"). The Sel'dwer ("strange people") are the largest group of mystics, founded by an original hermit whose origins are lost in the mists of time. More on the Sel'dwer can be found in "Ruminations on Mystic Druim'dwer" by Conasis.
Six families founded the original Druim'dwer Clans, two severing contact with the main body of Druim'dwer society while each of the others (whether deliberately or not) specializing in a different aspect of Druim'dwer life.
The Tre'cortas consist of the major houses and the minor houses. Which professions are considered major and which minor is generally a reflection of the focus of the community. Mining communities would place ore smelters on the Upper Council, while those Clans that are more craft oriented would place them on the Lower Council as a minor house. Naturally, focuses change over the years and one house may move up and another down. Often a house will remain in ascendancy long after its importance has diminished due to its political connections. The seating of Tre'cortas are often the prime subject of political discussion within the Clan, that along with the ranking of families.
There are many Clans of Druim'dwer, some large, some small, some living in cities, and some living in nomadic villages. Most scholars divide the Druim'dwer Clans into two categories, the Bel'sundes (Elder Clans) and the Tel'sundes (Young Clans). The population division between the two groups is rather uneven; with the Bel'sundes being outnumber nearly five to one by the Tel'sundes. Still, most of the wealth and perceived power lies with the Elder Clans, though a few of the more progressive and aggressive of the Tel'sundes are attempting to supercede them.
The original six Clans make up the Bel'sundes, the founders of which were mythically spawned from the slivers of metals which fell from the Forger's hammer as he formed the world upon the anvil of the Cosmos.
At critical points during the histories of each of the Bel'sundes, one or more prominent leaders within the Clan, usually the head of the second or third family, though occasionally the leader of an entire Tre'cortas, would fall into disagreement with the rest of the Clan over a major decision. These groups, unable to tolerate whatever decision was being made, would simply take their entire membership and leave, forming a new Clan, or a Tel'sundes.
These younger Clans also fall into two categories, those who feel that their connection with their parent clan should be revered (mostly because a portion of their family still resides with the parent clan) and those who desire to distance themselves from any connection with the Bel'sundes. Most of the latter are nomadic, wandering from place to place, either trading, performing metalwork for yang'sint barbarians, or simply following the easy pockets of ore and moving on when they grow to deep to extract with ease.
Every ten years a delegate is selected by the upper council from every Clan which presently claims a seat in the Grand Council of the Druim'dwer Elders. An additional three council members are also selected by a quorum amongst the unrepresented Clans. Any Druim'dwer over the age of two hundred years may be elected to the Grand Council. Other requirements are more in the nature of natural ability: oration, philosophy, personality, and wisdom. While theoretically all members of the Grand Council are equal, in practice this is not true. The actual sessions take place in an undisclosed location and the leadership of the Council is hereditary.
For the most part, Clans make their own rules as to their interaction with other Druim'dwer. When dealing with other races however, they must abide by the Compact of Churl Gnarledhand. In basic principle the Compact states that no Clan shall attack en mass any political entity with which the another Clan holds treaty or which may present a threat to the Druim'dwer race without gaining a two-thirds majority vote in favor of such action from the Grand Council.
Racial Martial Arts
Druim'dwer have their own style of unarmed combat.
|Dwarven Brawling||Martial Art||
This martial arts stance is available to druim'dwer. The moves may be displayed with the