Thursday, November 15, 2012

Races of Kickassistan: The Dwarves

Step One: Fill with Dwarves

The Dwarves

Humans could not have accomplished their victory over the Elder Races without the assistance of the dwarves, of this there can be no doubt. It is possible, however, that the bondage in which the Elder Races held Man might not have been so severe -- nor the Elder Races’ fear of Mankind’s potential not been as great -- had it not been for the dwarves and their revolt, a revolt which predates Man’s by at least a millennium. First enslaved by an Elder Race whose name and aspect is lost to time, the dwarves were bound to work beneath the earth, to shape stone, to wrench ores from the bowels of the world, to shape metal into fine wares both decorative and deadly. While plumbing the depths beneath the world’s surface, the dwarves uncovered ancient ruins and attendant technologies belonging to peoples even older than the Elder Races. The dwarves kept the secret of their discoveries from the Elders, learning to use them far from prying eyes; not every device led to breakthroughs, but those that did ended up advancing dwarven artifice by thousands of years. Ultimately developing advanced sciences and devices of their own, the dwarves managed to free themselves from the Elder Races, but set up a tenuous trade relationship with them, one that would fail in later years as the dwarves aided the humans in their own rebellion. While dwarven artifice today is mostly focused on the manufacture of mundane weapons and armors as well as fine art objects and jewelry, rumors persist of dwarven machines, far below the surface, that surpass anything known on the surface world. The most persistent of these rumors speak of Soul Engines, colossal machines that “reforge” the souls of dead dwarves into the bodies of specially-built automata that advanced magics transmogrify into living dwarves.

Dwarven Adventurers

Step Two: Blast this on the 8-track deck
Dwarves pride themselves on their work: miners prize their best ore finds, smiths their finest goods, machinists their greatest inventions and warriors their most difficult kills. Dwarven adventurers are those dwarves who couldn’t find a source of pride within their community, so they go looking for it without. Fiercely independent and notoriously stubborn, dwarves will readily leave their homes in pursuit of their chosen profession; dwarven clans know better than to try to interfere, instead letting their more adventurous youths seek their glory in the world. Materialists to a fault, dwarven adventurers accumulate the best gear they can find and keep it in the best condition they can manage; they would lament the scratches and mars their arms and armor receive if those mars didn’t mean that the dwarves got to polish and hone them all over again.


The way I see it, the dwarves of Kickassistan are the my Uncle Pat's native people: eternally tinkering with some favorite piece of craftsmanship (muscle cars, motorcycles, armor, weapons, etc.) while blaring Led Zeppelin and Sabbath from the quadraphonic stereo in the garage. Afterwards (or maybe even during), it's a beer and a smoke and a quick "field test." Then, back to the drawing board for the next bit of technical innovation...