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PostSubject: Neidar (Hill) Dwarves   Fri Jan 06, 2012 9:27 pm

Hill Dwarves

To the other races of Ansalon, when referring to a dwarf,
the dwarf in question is mostly likely of the Neidar clan.
The term Neidar was first coined in Thorbardin to describe
a clan of dwarves who dwelt above ground. Since that time,
the term has been used to refer to nearly all dwarves who
prefer to live on the surface of Krynn rather than beneath
it. They are the most well known of all dwarves, because
they interact with the outside world more than their
mountain dwelling brethren. Known to most races simply
as hill dwarves, the Neidar are sturdy fighters, shrewd
merchants, and master craftsmen.
More curious about the world around them than their
mountain-dwelling cousins, hill dwarves have traveled far
and wide, spreading their culture and plying their trade
in every nation of Ansalon. Nearly every mountain in
Ansalon has a settlement of hill dwarves somewhere along
its base. Dwarven adventurers will most often be Neidar,
as they are usually the only dwarves willing to leave their
homes in search of greater fortune. In their dealings,
Neidar tend to be fair and honest, but will haggle for
every last copper. Hill dwarves are loyal friends if one can
penetrate their grumbling manners and gruff exterior.

Physical Appearance
Hill dwarves tend to be short and stocky. They stand
between 4 and 4 ½ feet tall. While not tall, their girth
still makes them physically imposing. Male hill dwarves
tend to weigh anywhere between 150 and 200 pounds;
females usually weigh slightly less. They have a dense bone
structure that lends to this added weight and makes them
less buoyant than other creatures. As such, dwarves sink,
rather than float, in deep waters. Of course, this only adds
to their natural aversion of large bodies of water.
The Neidar often have darkly tanned skin from
years spent outdoors working fields, harvesting lumber,
and traveling to and from nearby settlements for trade.
Wrinkles are common, beginning around the early age of
forty, making hill dwarves appear older than they truly are.
Neidar eye colors are predominantly dark brown
with the occassional exception of green or hazel.
Many hill dwarves tend to be nearsighted. Their heavy
eyebrows hang over their eyes, giving them a natural
scowl when tired or preoccupied. This is a large reason
why non-dwarves believe they are always cross.
A dwarf ’s hair is a source of pride and occasionally
a sign of their social status. Dwarven males love
their facial hair. “You can tell a lot about a dwarf
by the way he keeps his beard,” is a common
dwarven saying. It is common practice for
a dwarf to keep his beard tucked into his
belt, provided it’s long enough; this way,
the beard stays out of the way while he
are working. Beards are occassionally
braided and tied. While this is
functional, additional ornamentation
is considered gaudy for males.
Keeping a beard clean and healthy
is the general accepted practice.
Hair color ranges from family
to family. As a rule, hill dwarves
have the widest spectrum of hair
color, ranging from blonde to black
and everything in between. Their hair
will begin to turn a silver-grey as they
reach adulthood and white as they reach old age.
Many male hill dwarves tend to go bald while they
are still young. Females, however, often enjoy thick
heads of hair their whole life. They take as much
pride in their hair as their men. While they do not
have beards, they do have long hair, often tied up
in a bun to keep it out of the way when performing
the day-to-day tasks; they let down it at night and
for special occasions. Ornamental hairnets, jeweled
pins, and fashionable hair clips are brought out
during festivals or community get-togethers.

Hill Dwarves believe in hard work and commitment.
A good life is comprised of a day of hard labor
followed by a mug of spirits and the satisfaction that
you have done something worthwhile for your family
and community. Creature comforts are important once
work is complete. “A good chair can outlast a good
friend!” is an old dwarven saying. Though many more
hill dwarves than mountain dwarves are adventurers,
the majority prefer to remain dedicated to their family
and community. Dwellings are often adorned with
trappings to make the house more comfortable.
While all dwarves covet gems and precious metals, hill
dwarves do not usually feel a need to flaunt their wealth.
Like all dwarves, if an individual can establish a bond
with a hill dwarf, that person can always depend on them.
Rock solid and never wavering, a Neidar will defend his
friends and family to the death. Their stubborn nature,
which keeps them from returning to the mountains or
forgetting any slight against them, can be a powerful force
when it is used to protect a loved one.

Social Structure
Most hill dwarf villages have a mayor or elected official
who passes judgment on internal conflicts and oversees
the local laws and customs in the village. If it is ever
discovered that the official is working against the good
of the community as a whole, he is quickly and often
ruthlessly removed from office. A number of dwarves also
work as local law enforcement, helping settle disputes and
patrolling the borders of the hill dwarf territory.
Since most dwarves are trained for combat, everyone is
expected to be involved in the militia. Most dwarves have
their own weapon and suit of armor; sometimes handed
down from one generation to the next, antique armor is
not unusual among the hill dwarves. Female dwarves often
take on tasks behind the front line, such as protecting
children or gathering supplies, but this doesn’t prevent
a determine female fighter from joining the men. When
confronted with a threat to the community, every dwarf
who can wield a weapon is welcome to join the fight.
There are two primary concentrations of hill dwarves
on Ansalon. The first is the in foothills of the Kharolis
Mountains. These are the dwarves who joined forces with
humans to attack Thorbardin in the Dwarfgate War. They
can still be found there, farming, hunting, and continuing
their lives much as they have since that dark time. The
second settlement is among the hills surrounding the
Garnet Mountain Range. The prosperous dwarven
province of Kayolin, located deep beneath the Garnet
Mountains, has long been a shining jewel among the
dwarven kingdoms. It has never known great civil unrest
like Thorbardin or destruction and disease like Thoradin.
Even during the dark times following the Cataclysm,
Kayolin left its doors open to the hill dwarves in the
surrounding territory, easing tensions and saving lives.
Hill dwarves are not exlcusive to these regions,
however. They have found homes all across Ansalon;
small clans of dwarves have settled in nearly every
corner. The Emerald Peaks of Nordmaar are home to the
Stonedrum clan of wild Klar who picked up and fled far
from Thorbardin after the Dwarfgate War. Among the
cliffs of Port Balifor, the Stonesplitter clan has settled and
even assisted the citizens against the dangers of dragons
by building escape tunnels and cliff-side residences. In
Khur among the desert tribes, the Shalecutter dwarves
are renowned for their metal and stoneworks. With the
possible exception of the Minotaur Isles, hill dwarves can
be found nearly anywhere on Ansalon.

The Neidar tend to be a spiritual people. They venerate
Reorx as the highest of all gods. Incredibly stubborn
and not willing to take things at face value, most Neidar
believed Reorx was teaching them a lesson after the
Cataclysm and never stopped worshiping him. When their
prayers had seemingly stopped being answered and the
clerical worship of Reorx drastically fell into decline, the
dwarves refused to believe Reorx would abandon them.
After the Dwarfgate War, however, many families took a
different view. They began to believe that Reorx, like the
mountain dwarves, had forsaken them and turned away
from him. Conflicts over religion fractured the Neidar; it
was only after the War of the Lance and the return of their
god that these wounds began to heal, and the Neidar came
together as one again.
After the Anvil Summer, the Chaos War, and the
passing of the gods, the hill dwarves stubbornly held on to
the belief that their god would not again be silenced. Reorx
had tamed Chaos once, and he would do it again. The one
moon, the changing constellations, and the lack of magic
only meant that things had changed, but it did not mean
Reorx had been defeated. When mysticism and the Power
of the Heart were discovered, many hill dwarves believed
it was Reorx’s parting gift to them and explored this new
power. Later, when the gods returned once more, many
rejoiced and worshiped Reorx and the other gods, but a
few held on to the dear gift of the Power of the Heart.
While Reorx is venerated as the highest god among
the pantheon, the Silver Mistress (Shinare) and Mesalax
(Mishakal) are both highly respected among the
Neidar—the Silver Mistress for her dedication to industry
and Mesalax for her healing arts. Stories of the famine
and disease that followed the Cataclysm are still told to
younger generations of dwarves as a reminder of that
terrible time. They also tell how it was Reorx who defeated
Chaos and the god of the One Moon, as he smashed
that grey moon from the sky with his great hammer and
returned the moons and the stars of the past to their
proper locations.
Every dwarven village has at least one chapel dedicated
to Reorx, Mesalax, or the Silver Mistress. While organized
worship is not mandatory, it is encouraged, and it is not
uncommon for many dwarves to visit their town’s temple
on holy days to pay their respects, assist in maintaining the
temple, or donating supplies for the priests and the poor of
the community.

Racial Relations
While hill dwarves are seemingly intolerant of nearly
everyone, it has never stopped them from dealing and
trading with nearly every race at one point or another
through the ages.
Despite their differences, hill dwarves have generally
gotten along with Qualinesti elves. It was mainly the hill
dwarves of Thorbardin who assisted in the creation of
the elven kingdom. Since the Cataclysm, much of that
camaraderie has faded. Contrarily, since the fall of the
elven kingdom, it is not uncommon to find the odd group
of elves living among dwarven communities who opened
their homes to the refugees of the fallen nation. Outside of
the region around Thorbardin, meetings between elves and
hill dwarves can be uncomfortable affairs.
Hill dwarves regard gnomes with some trepidation
and annoyance. This may be because the dwarves can see
something of themselves in the hardworking gnomes.
However, the gnomish drive to go far beyond what any
sensible dwarf would consider and their knack for failure
scare hill dwarves. Dwarves and gnomes can work well
together, however, as long as the dwarf can establish the
leadership role.
Hill dwarves seem to understand half-elves. A race of
outcasts from not one, but two different societies reminds
the many hill dwarves of their estrangement from the clans
beneath the mountains. Not as hot headed as humans and
not as pretentious as elves, the personalities of most halfelves
appeal to hill dwarves.
Humans have interacted with hill dwarves for longer
than either race can remember. To the dwarves, humans
are warlike, over-eager, and greedy, but at the same time
can show compassion and respect for tradition. One
thing all humans tend to do, at least in the eyes of the hill
dwarves, is recklessly spend their wealth and personal
gain. Hill dwarves are more than happy to oblige in taking
it from them if it means an honest day’s work for them.
If there is any race on the face of Ansalon that totally
mystifies and frustrates hill dwarves, it’s kender. How the
kender race has managed to survive is as baffling to hill
dwarves as how gully dwarves remain in the world. Kender
are foolish, careless, and lazy. They are also clearly a race
of thieves, lawless bandits, and compulsive liars. They can’t
be trusted any farther than they can be thrown, no matter
how many times you throw them.
The Neidar see minotaurs as an honorable race, even if
they are evil. Occasionally, hill dwarves have been known
to trade with minotaurs, but just as often, they have fought
against them. When dealing with minotaurs, hill dwarves
come armed with a good bit of suspicion and a hand on
their axe.
Hill dwarves detest draconians on general principle.
They consider a race of magically deformed dragon
children crafted from dark magic to be unnatural and
twisted. Hill dwarves have little to no contact with them
that isn’t violent. There is a nasty rumor circulating that
it was a hill dwarf who gave the draconians instructions
on how to find the dwarven ruins of Teyr. However, it’s
generally believed that any self respecting hill dwarf would
never do such a thing.
The ogre race has been at odds with the dwarves since
the dwarves’ creation. The only dwarves known to interact
with ogres have been the Zhakar, who traded with the
ogres of Blöde. Even some of those meetings ended in
bloodshed. Unlike half-elves, half-ogres are not treated
with the same respect from hill dwarves. The taint of their
ogre parentage is hard for any hill dwarf to ignore.

Hill Dwarves as Characters
The dwarven stereotype is so well known, it is often easy
to pick up on certain traits that make dwarves fun to
play. Hill dwarves should be more open to other races,
which makes them easy to integrate into any party. Hill
dwarves have had a wide variety of exposure to the outside
world, allowing them to take on non-typical dwarven
classes. Dwarven rogues, bards, and mystics are classes
that would make a dwarven character interesting without
straying too far from the realm of possibility. One thing,
which should be kept in mind while playing, hill dwarves
consider their way the right way. There may be other ways
of accomplishing a task, but if it is to be done right, have a
hill dwarf do it.

Adventuring Hill Dwarves
Hill dwarves adventure for a number of reasons. Most
often, they go out into the world on some type of family
business. Sometimes these trips abroad unexpectedly turn
into adventures that take the dwarf far away from home and
hearth. Occasionally, it is family troubles that cause young
dwarves to leave home and take up a life of adventuring.
These dwarves are often reluctant to talk about their home
and will rarely share details of why they left. Young hill
dwarf warriors will sometimes hire themselves out as
mercenaries, looking for excitement and experience.

Hill Dwarf Racial Traits
Hill dwarves have all the racial traits provided at character creation
except as follows
~Automatic Languages: Common, Dwarven.
~Bonus Languages: Elven, Goblin, Ogre.

Years of love have been forgot
In the hatred of a minute. - Edgar Allen Poe
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