Hill Dwarves

At first glance, a non-dwarf would find little difference between a hill dwarf and a mountain dwarf. Looking closely, however, will reveal that in general Hill Dwarves are paler of skin. Their hair and beards also tend to be fairer, ranging from deep red to coppery blonde. They are usually of similar build, though perhaps slightly taller.

Attitudes and mannerisms can also seem similar to their mountain cousins. They can be griff, speak plainly, and appreciate when others are the same way. They appreciate arts that mountain dwarves put less stock in, however, like poetry and song. They also detest the sort of complex politics that permeate mountain dwarf cities. They are lovers of physical activities, especially brawling and wrestling, and love competitions dedicated to these sorts of things. They are a little quicker of temper than mountain dwarves, though also a little more forgiving in the way of grudges.

Style and dress is humble, though they do have a love for clever designs. The women usually braid their hair in many different ways, as do the men, who also keep their beards braided. Facial hair seems to be very important to Hill Dwarves, and they will look askance at a male, even one from another race, who shaves clean. Tattoos are fairly common among their warrior folk, usually swirling designs that they believe provide them with protection or blessings. They usually prefer copper jewelry, and gemstones are very rare among them.

They live in very family based societies, with ‘villages’ being little more than huddles of homes belonging to one family name. The oldest member of the family is considered the leader, until he/she steps down to enjoy a retirement anyway. They will explore a wide range of crafts to support the family, though the children tend to take to the craft of their parents. Younger adults tend to travel to other holds, kingdoms, or towns to try and hone their chosen vocation, or to seek a life more exciting than one on the highlands.

Leadership is neither patriarchal or matriarchal; it is entirely one of seniority. When the current leader of a family, village, town, or even the whole kingdom dies (or steps down), the next oldest member of that person’s clan or family takes their place. Men and women decide which of their families to join when marrying; this is usually part of a negotiation process between families who will pay in “gifts” to another family to get a particularly skilled bride or groom to take their name.

Bardic tradition is very strong among these Hill Dwarves, and celebrated. Bards are given high honor, and usually seated to the right of the host during a feast or celebration. They are the lorekeepers of the Fenglennary dwarves, keeping alive an oral tradition that extends back into the mists of a mythical time. Bards travel frequently among the holds, as well as abroad, though they are usually less honored outside of their highland home.

The warrior arts are also an honorable vocation, and Hill Dwarves will often join other military organizations to educate themselves in the ways of battle. They are very often mercenaries for neighboring kingdoms. It is common among these Hill Dwarves to enjoy the fight itself, laughing and roaring with equal measure. Tactics and warcraft, however, isn’t usually something given much thought, and the kingdom has no standing army or generals of any sort. Families organize for battle themselves, and they tend to fight in a loose rabble. Occasionally a warlord will rise in prestige among them, however, usually from the bardic tradition.

The crafts of the Hill Dwarves are varied. Many of them are miners of metals such as copper and iron, though tin is highly sought after for it’s ease of shaping. Shepherding is another common vocation, and the hills are redolent with the short and hairy horned sheep of the highlands being lead by a solitary dwarf with a short crook. Agriculture is simple and hard, focusing usually on tubers and small herbs.

Magic is less common among them, though not disliked. Their bards are generally the only practitioners, though occasionally a wizard or sorcerer will pop up among them. They do find pleasure in seeing magic at work, however, due to their respect of the fey. They enjoy flashy displays of magic especially, and traveling magicians will often find themselves hired for work in entertainment.

Perhaps the one thing that separates them more than anything else from their cousins is their friendliness towards the fey and elves. Being a superstitious people, their traditions are linked heavily with the fey-realm and it’s effects on their land and in their lives. Any bit of trouble is often blamed on mischievous brownies or boggarts, and holy or very ancient places are said to be fey-haunted. They leave faerie-rings alone, except for perhaps an offering of copper jewelry or dishes of sheep’s milk. They see Elves and Gnomes as pretty much fey and treat them with great respect, often going out of their way to trade with travelers of these races, believing what they possess to be fey-charmed.

Hill Dwarves

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