Dwarves are natural miners and smiths, and they control most of the precious metals found naturally across the continent of Khorvaire. Powerful dwarf families mint coinage and operate banks, issue letters of credit, hold loans, and collect debts. Dwarf bankers and merchants wield a great deal of economic power throughout Khorvaire, and they are well respected as a result. To an extent, they are also feared, since dwarves are known to be ruthless in collecting unpaid debts. From a history of barbarism and warfare, the dwarves have risen to a position of enormous economic might. For eight centuries dwarves have dominated banking and finance in the bourgeoning mercantile industries of Khorvaire, leaving their brutal past behind them. They remain a race of proud warriors, and they present an appearance of elegant sophistication—beards cut close, armor trimmed with fur and brocade, and the fury of an ancient barbarian warrior simmering deep beneath the fair facade. The dwarf clans of the Mror Holds have never had the strong national identity typical of other races. As the great clans strive to unite the holdings into a secure empire based on finance, they continue to fight this legacy. The feuding dwarf clans were too weak to resist being annexed into Karrnath in the early years of the kingdom of Galifar but turned their subjugation to good use. Karrnath’s rule forced the clans to cease fighting each other, allowing them to focus on building a civilization from the tremendous mineral wealth of the Ironroot Mountains. Twenty years after the outbreak of the Last War, the Mror Holds declared their independence from Karrnath and emerged as a new nation, the first true dwarf nation ever seen in the world.
Dwarf Lands: The dwarven homeland is the Mror Holds, a loose-knit federation of otherwise unconnected dwarf clans in the mountainous terrain in the east of Khorvaire. The dwarves have never had a unified empire and thus have never risen to the prominence of the elves or humans, or even the goblinoids, though their control of mineral wealth has always made them important allies of the greater powers. The Mror clans were subject to the king of Galifar before the Last War, but they seceded from Karrnath early in the war, marking the greatest degree of unity and independence the dwarves have ever possessed.
Settlements: Dwarf settlements focus on defense and protection of the natural resources that generate wealth. Built into the sides of mountains and deep underground, each clan lays claim to one or more secure holdfasts.
Power Groups: The dwarves of the Mror Holds remain a loose confederation of clans rather than a unified nation. The great clans rule through a body called the Iron Council, a group of lords made up of representatives from various clans. Each clan, however, continues to govern its own holds and acts, in many ways, as an independent state in negotiations with the other nations of Khorvaire. Other powerful groups, particularly House Kundarak, the holders of the Mark of Warding, influence the council and the nation from the periphery. Although House Kundarak does not have a seat on the Iron Council, many of the council’s decisions seem to hint at Kundarak influence.
Beliefs: Many dwarves pay homage to the Sovereign Host, and worship of the Host has grown steadily in recent generations. The deity most favored among the dwarves is Kol Korran, god of trade and wealth. Other deities are popular as well, including Boldrei, Olladar, Onatar, and Dol Dorn. Many far-seeing dwarves hope that devotion to the Sovereign Host might serve as a unifying force within dwarf culture, but such religious influence is unlikely given the independent nature of dwarves and the growing influence of mercantile interests among dwarf clans.
Language: The dwarves remain a grim and survival minded race. They are slow to reveal emotion or information, and stoic around anyone not of their immediate family. Dwarves choose their words deliberately, careful to avoid giving away information that could be used against them. They speak Dwarven among themselves, though they are literate in the languages of those races with which they trade.
Relations: With a wealth of natural resources, forbidding natural defenses, and a long history of bloodshed, the dwarves present an impressive image to the outside world. It is easy to see why the other nations of Khorvaire find it more prudent to call the dwarves friends than to raise their weapons in an attempt at conquest.
Dragonmarks: The dwarven House Kundarak carries the Mark of Warding, enabling the house to protect its vast stores of wealth and provide security for businesses and precious goods. House Kundarak works closely with the gnomes of House Sivis in the production and verification of important documents and the like.