Dwarves (Dragon Age)

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The Dwarves are a species that feature in Dragon Age.

Contents

History

The Dwarves (Dwarva) were a short humanoid race that inhabited the world that included the lands of Thedas. There were close ties between them and the gigantic Titans that were responsible for shaping the world.

At one point, their huge empire was spread across a vast network of twelve great thaigs.

Overview

In appearance, Dwarves resembled humans but had a short and stocky build.

They seemingly lacked any magical ability and seemingly unable to learn spellcasting.

Dwarven society was divided into a number of rigid castes and houses that competed with one another for power and prestige.

The various castes included:

  • Noble caste :
  • Warrior caste :
  • Smith caste :
  • Artisan caste :
  • Mining caste :
  • Merchant caste :
  • Servant caste :

At the bottom of the hierarchy were those that were referred to as Casteless. Those that went to the surface were treated with scorn and deemed to no longer having a place in their home city as they had forfeited their right to caste, house and favour of their ancestors. This made little difference to the casteless as they had little to lose which was why some decided to become Surface Dwarves. Others were attracted to this path as they could gain something and a few believed that their homes would become overrun by Darkspawn thus leading to them going to the surface to survive. The Merchant Caste was known to make regular forays onto the surface in order to make a profit. Despite abandoning old traditions to become Surface Dwarves, many still maintained the old hierarch of caste lines with those of former noble houses treated with the most respect. Thus, surface dwarf society was divided into two groups with one being the kalnas who kept the tradition of caste along with rank and the other being the ascendants who believed abandoning the old traditions underground for a new life.

Within Dwarven culture, there was an elite class known as the Paragons who represented the pinnacle of excellence. They were an exception to the strict caste system of the Dwarves where they could be drawn from any caste including the casteless.

The prime legislative body of their civilization was the Assembly. Members held the title of deshyr that roughly translated to mean "assembly lord". There were 80 deshyrs that were drawn from the influential noble houses in the city. Nobles having the right to claim a vote in the Assembly of Clans was determined by their house having a deshyr, general, or a Paragon among their Ancestors. Leadership was held by a person holding the titel of King who technically ruled but were actually elected by the Assembly. Thus, they often had to work constantly in maintaining the support of the deshyrs with unpopular such rules having their heirs deemed unacceptable to inherit the throne.

A key branch in Dwarven society was the Shaperate that were incredibly ancient to the point that most of their kind knew not when it began. These members of their race were keepers of history that never went to the surface and kept time through the lives and deaths of their kings. These Shapers were not just historians but craftsman with their races history being forged in the Memories that served as a record of their race with runes made from lyrium that contained the thoughts of the craftsman. The Shaperate was divided into a number of branches each of whom had their own specialisation. The Shaperate of Memories were responsible for the memories and history of their kind whilst the defunct Shaperate of Golems had been charged with overseeing the crafting of golems. Other branches included the Shaperate of Runes who constructed runes and the Shaperate of Stone who kept the mundane records of work, marriages as well as other domestic information. Ranks within the Shaperate were: Shaper of Memories, Shaper, Shaper Assistant, Scholar, Shaperate Scribe and the Shaperate Cataloger.

On the surface, one powerful body of Dwarves was the Dwarven Merchants' Guild that was a powerful institution that served as a body that allowed a means to obtain power and fortune. Their leaders could trace their lineage to the Noble and Merchant Caste houses back in their home city. It was responsible for regulating the trade between Dwarven cities and the surface thus meaning that it quietly controlled the entire economy though their rules would never admit such a fact. The guild was noted for being highly conservative though it began to allow more ascendants into their ranks especially those from banking families which had become the source of infighting in the organization.

A powerful and ancient group in their society was the criminal syndicate known as the Carta.

Another group in Dwarf society was the Sha-Brytol (Revered Defenders) who were secluded far beneath the Deep Roads and were dedicated in the protection of the Titans.

One group of warriors that was independent of the military was the Legion of the Dead who were answerable to the Dwarven monarchy. Any Dwarf was able to join their ranks as long as the were willing to give up their lives in service as a Legionnaire. Once joining, funeral rites were made for them as they said their good byes to family and loved ones as they were considered dead leading to their material goods being gifted to heirs along with any last words said to those close to them. They then marched with the Legion as they journeyed into the Deep Roads were it was expected that they were never to return as they fought the Darkspawn to the last man as they sought to reclaim the last territories of their homelands. Those that joined the Legion did so to get a clean slate on life which was why criminals joined them to avoid punishment whilst those dishonoured did so to ensure that their families did not suffer further disgrace and bankruptcies were declared void with the debts forgiven for those that became a Legionnaire. Only a rare few joined for a last chance at glory but the Legion of the Dead recruited even those few individuals into their ranks.

The concept of worship was unknown to the Dwarves of Orzammar who instead venerated the Stone which was the name they gave to the earth itself. The idea of deities and heaven were unknown to them with them instead taking matters of spiritual concern to their ancestors. These ancestors were said to had returned to the Stone itself but communicated their wishes to the living through brutal trials by combat namely the Provings. Beyond that, the ancestors collective wisdom was held by the Shaperate that can store the records in lyrium. Outside the ancestors and kings were the Paragons that had achieved greatness to the point of being elevated to near godhood among Dwarves with them being considered the greatest figures of their race.

As such, Golems were devastating weapons of war where hey could be used as living siege engines as the threw boulders like catapults into enemy positions or smashed through enemy lines.

Dwarves made their homes in underground settlements and cities that they referred to as Thaigs with these being connected to one another through tunnels that became the Deep Roads.

Members

  • Varric Tethras :
  • Piotin Aeducan :
  • Oghren :

Notes

  • The Dwarves featured in the setting of Dragon Age.

Appearances

  • Dragon Age: Origins:
  • Dragon Age II:
  • Dragon Age: Inquisition:

External Links

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